Review: Car Seat Headrest and fellow Seattle band Naked Giants bring ‘Twin Fantasy’ favorites to WOW Hall
The Seattle-based indie rock band Car Seat Headrest made a stop in Eugene Friday night for a sold-out show at WOW Hall. The tour was in support of the band’s most recent album, “Twin Fantasy (Face to Face).” Fellow Seattle band Naked Giants provided an opening set and also joined Car Seat Headrest on stage later in the night to provide extra instrumentation.
The venue was nearly full by the time Naked Giants took the stage, shortly after 9 p.m. During its opening set, the three-piece band performed songs from its recently released debut LP “SLUFF.” The performance featured a mix of vigorous, jam-heavy garage rock with healthy doses of psychedelic rock thrown in here and there.
A song entitled “TV” — a high point of the band’s set — started out with a stilted guitar riff that gradually expanded into changing tempos and a drawn-out, overdriven jam. One of the band’s more upbeat tracks, “Everybody Thinks They Know (But Nobody Really Knows),” also drew some enthusiastic audience participation during the chorus after the bass player, Gianni Aiello, prompted the crowd to sing along.
Midway through the set, Naked Giants made a joke calling out an audience member as the son of Steve Miller. The band then proceeded to play a cover of the Steve Miller Band classic “Rockin’ Me.” The last song of the set also featured an extended solo from drummer Henry LaVallee. The entire performance lasted around 45 minutes.
After some brief soundchecks and stage rearrangements, Will Toledo — the bandleader and mastermind behind Car Seat Headrest — took the stage. With the added members of Naked Giants on keyboard, percussion and guitar, the live band totaled in at seven people, creating a filled-out sound for the opening song of the set, “Famous Prophets (Stars).”
For a large part of the show, Car Seat Headrest played songs from the recently re-recorded and reimagined cult album, “Twin Fantasy,” which Toledo originally crafted on his laptop back in 2011. These included favorites such as “Beach Life-In-Death” and “Sober to Death,” the latter of which featured a comical, slowed down intro as the band waited for Naked Giants guitarist Grant Mullen to tune after breaking a string.
More popular tracks from the 2016 album “Teens of Denial” also made their way into the setlist. The energetic “Destroyed By Hippie Powers” and emotional “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” were some of the most well-received songs of the night, as was “Fill in the Blank,” which featured an altered guitar part in its intro.
Toledo forewent his usual electric guitar for the concert, choosing only to sing and occasionally play the maracas. Shortly into the set, he mentioned to the crowd that he was sick, but still in a good mood. Throughout the night, his stage presence reflected this willingness to perform. Toledo gave a confident vocal performance along with his music, fully realized for the stage.
Near the end of the night, drummer Andrew Katz made sure to give some praise to Eugene, his own hometown. Both Katz and Toledo expressed their love for the crowd.
After a finishing a solid main set, Car Seat Headrest came back on stage for a one-song encore: a performance of “Nervous Young Inhumans.” Toledo gave a wave and walked off stage after the song’s spoken-word outro. After carrying out the instrumental for a while longer, the rest of the band brought the song, as well as the hour-and-a-half concert, to a close.
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.