Return of the Blood Bunny: chloe moriondo at the Wonder Ballroom
Opening for mxmtoon at the Wonder Ballroom on May 14th, chloe moriondo fought COVID scares and a broken down van to finally make their return to the Rose City. Photos by Emma Davis.
“i’m wearing pants on stage tonight portland,” chloe moriondo tweeted. “everyone expect more sweat than usual i’m sorry if i get it on u”
It was only October when alternative singer-songwriter and our 2021 Album of the Year recipient chloe moriondo last came through Portland, headlining a sold out Holocene. Back then, cold and rain pelted down on the fans waiting to get inside. But now, on a spring day in May, the massive line outside the Wonder Ballroom was greeted with a dry 70° sky.
Though moriondo has made a massive name for themself and could easily helm a headlined Wonder, this May’s show now saw them acting as the opener for fellow YouTuber / singer-songwriter mxmtoon. However, it seemed that much of the crowd were just as much here for chloe as for mxmtoon. Well before doors and the start of the show, the line wrapped the block, as fans hoped to make it inside in time to see their opening set.
Inside the venue, bunny ears perked up throughout the packed crowd—hats that moriondo sold at their merch stand in support of last year’s incredible Blood Bunny. All those that made it inside waited with bated breath, singing loudly along to a pre-show mix filled with the likes of Mitski and Phoebe Bridgers.
It wasn’t long before moriondo took the stage, striding up with a casual swagger as the crowd erupted in excited cheers. Taking time to introduce themself to the crowd, moriondo stepped to the mic.
“i’m chloe and this is my band,” they said with a smile and excited laugh. “and we’re really excited to play some songs for you.”
moriondo and their band have had a rocky road to get here. Thus far, their scheduled time on the road had been anything but smooth going. Back in March, moriondo’s European voyage was cut short when their band tested positive for COVID-19. Then, on their current tour with mxmtoon, just days before the Portland date, moriondo had to pull out of opening for the Denver show when their van broke down and threw a wrench in their plans.
Luckily, the stars had seemed to align for the Rose City. Free of COVID and with a fully functional vehicle, chloe moriondo had made it. And the celebration started with Blood Bunny’s stellar opening track, “Rly Don’t Care,” backed with a chorus of voices from the crowd.
Playing through a handful of treats from their debut album, including “Bodybag” (“this song is about when you’re so into someone it comes out as aggression”) and “I Eat Boys” (“have you ever heard of jennifer’s body?”), complete with a sparkling disco ball throwing light around the room.
In between songs, the crowd made sure chloe morionodo kept healthy and hydrated, breaking out into a chant of CHUG CHUG CHUG as they drank from their water bottle.
moriondo giggled: “thanks for the encouragement.”
Taking a short detour from the heartbreak and love songs, chloe introduced some tracks from their new EP, puppy luv, dedicated to their love of dogs and their blind pup Sammy.
Sammy’s eponymous track earned an audible awwwh from the crowd as chloe, a giggle on the fringe of their voice, smiled and sang: “there’s a boy i know / in the morning catch him moving slow / so many places that he wants to go / but doesn’t know where he’s going.”
After playing through several more tracks from Blood Bunny, including “I Want To Be With You,” a song that was recently featured on the Netflix show Heartstopper—and hopefully introduced chloe’s music to a whole new audience—moriondo ended their set with a quick disclosure.
“this last song is different than any of the other songs i’ve played tonight,” chloe told the crowd. “but if you have some aggression you gotta get out, this is the one for you.”
Though the song is so far unreleased, “Hell Houndz” has quickly become a fan favorite amongst chloe’s fans when played live. With a gritty electronic pulse and autotune vocoder vocals, “Hell Houndz” sounds more like 100 Gecs than a chloe moriondo song. Though completely different, it represents an experimental, energetic, and exciting new direction for chloe’s sound. And if there’s one thing chloe moriondo has proven, it’s that they can evolve seamlessly.
Having previously moved from bedroom pop to indie rock, a hyperpop chloe moriondo may be right on the horizon. And if this is true, there’s no telling what heights they may reach.
Catch chloe moriondo on the road with mxmtoon now through June 11th. Find tour dates and tickets at chloemoriondo.com.