Last weekend I had the chance to see indie rock band Car Seat Headrest, perform live at the Neptune Theatre in what was probably one of my favorite shows I have attended. I’ve been kind of obsessed with this band for most of the year, so finally getting to see them live was a pretty great experience. They were touring in support of their latest album Teens of Denial, definitely one of my favorite albums of the year so far.
The show kicked off after a strong performance by opening band The Domestics, a group I was not familiar with until this concert. Car Seat Headrest then opened with a short Leonard Cohen cover, before kicking the show off with the popular lead track “Fill in the Blank” from their newest album. This was when you could feel the audience really get excited; the level of audience engagement at this show was high, particularly in the front, where many of the people around me were singing along passionately.
The band played many other recent songs including “Vincent” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” as well as older songs such as “Maud Gone” and “Sober to Death,” skillfully mixing different points in their discography. The Teens of Denial tracks stood out especially good live, although I was expecting them to be played, so the older songs were a nice surprise. “Maud Gone” was particularly nice to hear as I was not expecting that song to be played, and it also provided a brief respite of calm among the more high-tempo rock songs surrounding it on the setlist. The audience gave a particularly loud cheer when front-man Will Toledo announced they would be playing a song from Twin Fantasy, probably the most popular of their early albums. The band also experimented with a shortened version of “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” which was reworked in preparation for an upcoming TV performance. Guitarist Ethan Ives’ guitar skills really shone through live, and Will Toledo’s vocal performance was excellent.
The most enjoyable songs live, in my opinion, were “Strangers” from their 2015 album Teens of Style (a re-recording of an earlier release), and the encore in which the band was joined by Naked Days for covers of “Psycho Killer” and “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads, which they brought impressive energy to, and closed off the show on a high note. Overall, it was a great performance and a strong end to the tour.
Photo Credit: Kevin Tosh