The opening act, Lucy Dacus, takes the stage alone, illuminated by soft blue lighting. Without any introduction she sings “The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit, I had a coughing fit,” which elicits a few scattered chuckles amongst the growing crowd. The lighthearted opening line leads to a somber, personal ode to past loves, accompanied only by bare guitar chords and misty cerulean lighting. The song crawls to an end and Lucy reveals that she had wrote it just two minutes ago.
The band comes on stage for the rest of the show, concealing the soft spoken, bleeding-heart vocalist– transforming her musical identity all together under a bath of noise. As the set bangs forward it is clear that this act is at their best when less is going on: one song with only brush-sticks playing rock drums, heavy and stripped back grooves to break the monotony. Overall, I was not too impressed by the sonic image of the band other than the ballad-esque lyrics and Ms. Ducas’s voice until the final song, “Pillar of Truth”. The closing song starts slow, almost painfully minimal and grows into a hymn of noise, transforming and oscillating between the two poles of energy that the band has showcased over the course of the night.
Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest’s burgeoning fame has drawn a diverse range of music lovers across several generations and many walks of life; a sold out show on a Saturday evening. And the roar of the throng reflects the mass of it all as Will Toledo and his band takes the stage. Will’s voice rings out in a dark solo “I’ve been listening to the pain…” the young musician hums among other sentiments to what seems like whatever strife is on his heart. The silence of the awestruck crowd hearing new words from the lonely poet is broken as a familiar drum beat rings out of the loud speakers: Ending of Dramamine. For the next two minutes it really is the epic narrative of finding meaning in the ephemerality of feelings, but the opening riff is soon interrupted by an energetic swell of sound from all four of the instruments– which is again interrupted by the opening chord progression of “Fill in The Blank” along with roars from the multitude of onlookers. Almost every word is belted by the audience, and the communal atmosphere of the night is established, each and every different soul here for one artist. This feeling of community is strengthened as (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs… concludes with the repetition of “Drugs are better with Friends are better with Drugs…” sung out by the spectators along with the band. The song ends and the band tunes their instruments as the drummer, Andrew, fills time with fan-mail questions. Over the course of the three tuning interludes, Will reveals that he has indeed signed a car seat headrest in Nashville TN, would rather be a rapper than a metal singer, and recommends the book referenced in The Ballad of Costa Concordia: “Denial of Death” By Ernest Becker.
Among the set list, which spans from 2011’s Twin Fantasy to Teens of Denial, are a few covers. The first covered song comes immediately after the first Q&A segment, and Will’s fetish to play David Bowie songs rears its lovely head: Blackstar. The morbid themes explored on this track don’t seem to clash with the general feel of the night as the complexity felt in the air is only strengthened by the cover. There is never a dull moment as the show rambles on, from Will’s abandonment of the falsetto on Drunk Drivers to the visceral scream let out by Ethan at the end of Unforgiving Girl. Falling alongside Vampire Weekend and Easy Star All-Stars as bands who have covered Radiohead’s Exit Music well, Car Seat closes their set with their take on the 1997 tune, which reminds the attendees to “keep breathing, don’t lose your love.” (changed from “…don’t lose your nerve.”).
Even after the encore, which was as much of a blast from the past (Sober to Death) as a celebration of new material (Connect the Dots), the crowd lingered and chanted for more songs for a few minutes after the house lights came on.
Review by: Ryan Gottlieb
Photos by: Miranda Viskatis