Will Toledo might have the scrawny presence of a reclusive teenager on the 100 Club stage tonight, but he’s anything but shy. Seeing his sprawling confessionals come to life in a flurry of feedback and fuzz is testament to his clearly growing confidence as his highly relatable lyrics fly back at him faster than he can get them out.
It’s a raucous performance right from the get go. Opening with ‘Fill in the Blank’ – the opening track from new record on ‘Teens of Denial’ – Car Seat Headrest take time to find their groove; parrying feedback and the occasional slip up (“this sounds awful,” Toledo chuckles, “let’s bridge into another song”), they deliver a set top heavy in hits and finding every chance for a yell-a-long.
‘Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales’ garners perhaps the best reaction of the night, it’s soaring chorus yelped back across the stage despite the somewhat sombre body language of the crowd (it is Tuesday night, after all). “London is cursed for us,” their drummer explains during a short-lived breather, going on to say that the last time they played someone tripped over the power cord and cut them off. “Hopefully this time it’ll be different.”
And different it certainly was. While Car Seat Headrest don’t exactly lift the roof off, the ruggedness of the band is clear and charming. Plus, there’s a presence in Toledo’s stellar songwriting as well as in their unit; from the melancholic small town stories embedded in ‘Vincent’ to the incredible 10-minute ‘The Ballad of Costa Concordia’, there’s a breadth and depth to what they do that’s head and shoulders above anyone else doing “emo” in 2016.
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