toe at the Great American Music Hall, by William Wayland
toe (photo: William Wayland)

Tokyo-based math rock/post-rock band toe played San Francisco last week on only their third North American tour in their 18-year history. The band is touring to support their newest release, Our Latest Number, selling out Great American Music Hall and other venues in the process.

Despite having listened to all of their albums on repeat for a week leading up to the show, I was still awed by the band’s musical complexity and precision. They’re like doctors of sound, with each instrument both blending together and staying completely distinct.

What you don’t get from the band’s recordings is the catharsis that seems to produce this music. Each song feels like a kind of exorcism — at times quietly anguished and almost inaudible, at others violently raging. toe is known to work at their own pace, so if you didn’t catch the band this time, perhaps they’ll return sometime next decade.

Opening for toe was solo keyboardist Jack Grace.