Words by Audra Tracy | Photo via Matador

Car Seat Headrest proved once and for all that you don’t need a cool band name to sell out a show in New York City. Taking over Manhattan for the weekend, the Governors Ball After Dark series brought the indie rockers to Webster Hall on Friday for a special late-night performance.

Outside, the line of ticket-holders wrapped around the corner of the venue, hours before showtime: fans were fired up for this one. Inside, Canada’s Nap Eyes played an opening set before the headliner emerged to face a full house. Front-man/songwriter Will Toledo and his band took right to task in wowing the crowd – it was almost midnight, after all.

The thing is, Car Seat Headrest isn’t doing anything special to break the rock n’ roll mold. Yet they have a low-fi, basement-tape sound that’s distinctly their own – and the fans at Webster Hall were definitely feeling it on Friday night. The vibe in the venue was electric, as the crowd cathartically screamed along to every chorus from the catalog.

Looking around at the enamored audience, it was amazing to see how an introverted, isolated kid like Toledo could connect so well with his listeners. Despite his shy demeanor, this anti-frontman’s ability to mesmerize a room is a testament his solid songwriting, which was on full display tonight. Tunes from Car Seat Headrest’s latest release, Teens of Denial, filled most of the set, reflecting on universal subjects like mental health (‘Fill In The Blank’), substance abuse (‘Drugs With Friends’), and social responsibility (‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’).

With a ton of material to pull from, Car Seat Headrest could have played til the sun came up on Saturday morning. And fans would have held on tight for the whole ride.


TheWaster.com | NYC