REVIEW: Car Seat Headrest @ Cat’s Cradle, 09/21/2018

Welcome to theverybestof’s first edition of:

We’re going to get things started here by reviewing the concert I went to last night: Car Seat Headrest.

Let’s get it poppin’.

Alcoholic Beverages Consumed: Precisely One (1) PBR

I ended up with driving duties because my roommate Drew’s car was “out of gas”, totally deflating my dreams of consuming a gin & tonic or 6 at the venue. I suppose this worked out, as I was only at the show for purely  professional reasons (to produce this highly professional review piece).

Visuals: A

The light-work was absolutely phenomenal. Honestly, it started to piss me off just how great of a job they did with stage-lighting. From the moment the set started until the conclusion of the show, they refused to give our brains a break for even one damn minute.

I can think of maybe two shows I’ve been to that may have beat it out in this category (disclaimer: I go to a LOT of concerts), but all-in-all Car Seat Headrest checks in at an impressive A grade here.

Band Aesthetic: C+

Will Toledo was rocking a plain white t-shirt. Iconic.

Guitarist Ethan Ives had on what looked to be a Pixies shirt. Gotta respect it.

The guitarist opposite of Ethan Ives (who isn’t an officially listed member of the band and whose name I wasn’t able to locate) had a serious Totally Kyle look going on.

Some solid components, but given that it was a 7 man band, 3 notable looks just isn’t enough to get you on theverybestof’s Honor Roll.

Stage Antics: A

You know, for the majority of the show I actually thought I’d have to give Car Seat Headrest something around a C here. Not that they were particularly boring for most of the show. They did everything they should have. Putting a 7-piece band on a relatively small stage doesn’t really leave a lot of room for hijinx.

Or so I thought.

That was until around the 3rd to last song, one of the percussionists picked up the cowbell. That’s right, the legendary cowbell. Can’t get enough of it. This guy is standing on an amp, giving it his best Will Ferrell impression for the first part of the song. All of a sudden he jumps down into the crowd and is lost from my vision. About a minute goes by without seeing a trace of our courageous cowbeller, when suddenly my friend Drew inconsiderately elbowed me in my ribcage. “Look!”

THE DUDE HAD CLIMBED UP ONTO AN OVERLOOKING BALCONY AND WAS CRUSHING HIS COWBELL AT ABOUT 8 FEET HIGHER OF AN ELEVATION THAN THE REST OF THE BAND.

But that’s not all.

He came back down to Earth with us, but within another minute he had pulled some girl wearing a NASA shirt up onto stage and summoned another cowbell from God-knows-where. For those of you keeping count at home, we are now at the unheard of 2 Cowbell mark. He gives it to our wannabe-astronaut friend and she proceeds to suck absolute shit trying to bang that bell in rhythm. But she was having a blast, and for that she has my eternal respect.

Crowd Engagement: A-

Sort of a reverse mullet set-up, if you will. Business in the back, party in the front.

The front rows were packed with 16-18 year olds looking for any chance to mosh that they could. God only knows how many juuls were left on the ground beneath their feet once the show concluded and their moms picked them up out front.

The areas in the back towards the exit were chock full of older adults that clearly felt uncomfortable, given their rigid and cross-armed stances maintained for the entirety of the show. But pay close enough attention and you’d notice a consistent foot-tap and a finger-waggle here or there. They enjoyed it despite feeling totally out-of-place while enjoying it. Infinitely respectable on their parts.

The crowd matched Car Seat Headrest’s energy fairly well from start to finish, don’t get me wrong. However, it was certainly the most packed I’ve ever seen Cat’s Cradle and given those circumstances, I can’t in good faith give out an A here. Nobody tried to crowd-surf and nobody stupidly tried to climb onto stage. A good performance on the crowd’s part, but definitely still room for improvement.

Shirt Selection: F-

As any of you that follow me on Instagram know, I am a SLUT for concert t-shirts. I have probably spent a sickening amount of money on concert merch in 2018, but thankfully I have too much anxiety to ever really look at my bank statements so it’s all good.

Car Seat Headrest had at least 3 t-shirts displayed that I would’ve loved to have taken home. I spent about 2 minutes deciding just which one I wanted, but shortly after internally making that decision I noticed the hastily handwritten sign just to the side of the shirts. My heart sunk as I read:

“Sorry, we are out of medium and large Car Seat Headrest shirts. Merch can be ordered at https://carseatheadrest.bigcartel.com/”

UGH.

In time, I summoned some strength to overcome my heartbreak and I happily took home their album Teens of Denial on vinyl instead.

(WRITER’S NOTE: I will devote the rest of my life to anyone that orders this shirt for me in a medium or large)

Did A Stranger Spill Their Drink On Me: No

No sticky shoes this time. A truly rare occurrence.

Encore: Hellllllll yeaaah!

They were planning on ending their show but once they walked off the stage, I started clapping and let out one of my signature “WOO!“s. Low and behold, because of my support they came back out and rocked out for one last very long song. I’m sure they were just trying to get a positive review from this esteemed publication, but still pretty chill of them in my opinion.

How Frustratingly Long Did It Take To Get Out of the Parking Deck After the Show: On A Scale Of 1-10, I Guess I’d Say A 4?

I’ve certainly endured worse both in general concert experiences, but specifically at this same Cat’s Cradle venue. I was surprised it wasn’t worse given the number of people at this show.

 


Overall, it was a truly great night seeing Will Toledo and Car Seat Headrest perform their art. It was my first time seeing them and they easily exceeded my already high expectations for the show. I strongly suggest checking them out if they’re ever performing nearby. And if they aren’t, then check them out on Spotify.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next weekend with a review of the upcoming Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit concert. Until then: rock ‘n’ roll.

-Brian Best

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