By Jeni Gough
It was almost cathartic to see Car Seat Headrest perform live, an American indie/rock group currently on tour with their supporting act Naked Giants, a trio from Seattle. I use the word cathartic because despite how obnoxiously depressing the songs actually are, everyone was genuinely enjoying themselves. Admittedly, it was a little disappointing to wait an hour for the supporting band to come on stage, but they made up for it with their lively entrance of an animated drum solo. They performed an hour’s worth of songs including “TV” and “SLUFF”, before joining Toledo and his group on stage. Will Toledo, the main singer of Car Seat Headrest, started solo in 2010 and got signed to Matador Records only five years later. He began touring in 2016 as an official band, of which Ethan Ives (guitar and vocals), Seth Dalby (bass) and Andrew Katz (drums) are current members. The band members played with ease and incited the audience to react, and by 9pm small mosh pits were forming, and the audience was crowd surfing.
Despite the mass of black hair covering his face half of the time, Toledo was accessible to the concertgoers through the lyrics to his songs. The setlist of songs performed included choices from the albums Teens of Denial (2016) and Twin Fantasy (2011), such as “Cosmic Hero”, “Bodys” and “Cute Thing”. The one piece that especially brought out the crowd’s excitement was “Drunk drivers/Killer whale”. With grungy, heavy electronic instrumentals and deeply personal songs there came a communal feeling of hopelessness, the knowledge that we’ve all been through tough times. I felt that some specific guitar chords were reminiscent of The Kinks, and the vocal ranged from a neutral jazzy flow to a hearty shouting, reminding me of Cobain’s raspy voice present in most Nirvana songs.
Tramshed as a venue is an advantageous space for a gig like this one, attracting a fairly small crowd of people of all ages with a shared interest in live music. The only downfall of the venue on that night, for me, was the lack of a cloakroom.