At the Toby Love show on Sunday, we saw both his softer and his "crunkier" side. Actually the term "crunkchata" seems a little hyped, as does calling this a "hiphop" blend. I would call it bachata romantica and draw a parallel to the commercialization of salsa romantica in the 90s. While it's true that Love's flygirls and b-boys inject "urban" Bronx-creole style and attitude, his singing comes straight from the annals of romantic R&B. Commercial bachata recordings are so smoothly tweaked nowadays that the live performance is a different experience entirely; the frenetic, in some ways mechanical, stage show devolved focus away from Love as a romantic persona, whose sexual energy onstage is more boy-band, more charming waif, than intensely hypnotic or commanding. By contrast, his rhythm section's mannish energy and muscularity is pure Dominicana, but there's nothing new about that.
This video of a bachata shows Love crafting his softer side. Without his dancers here, you can see how his band is put together and operates.
Softer side of Love from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
Love was at his best when he dropped his romantic alter ego and turned the party crank, with some hyperactive merengue and rapidfire vocals:
Dame Agua from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
The dance showcase that followed brought out another ancient piece of urban folklore: witty sexual hype. Here are three members of Love's crew "getting crazy":
Get Crazy #1 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
Get Crazy #2 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
Get Crazy #3 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
Read my concert review on the Indy online music blog SCAN
See photos from the live show posted earlier on Onda Carolina