Thursday, 16 March 2017

On Stage: Car Seat Headrest @ Paradiso

Last year Car Seat Headrest made one of the best albums of the year in my opinion. Teens Of Denial popped up in many year lists and was one of the few rock albums appearing high between pop and hip-hop records. I didn't see them when they played the London Calling festival last year, but fortunately the band returned to Amsterdam.

Car Seat Headrest at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 14 2017

Originally the band was supposed to be playing at the Tolhuistuin venue but by popular demand for tickets the shows was rescheduled to the main hall which is almost full. This is a small miscalculation by the programmer since the main hall is twice as big. It shows how popular the band got since the release of that great record, which is full of nineties inspired alternative rock songs about anxiety. These songs sound great with ringing guitar chords and sometimes a bit of grunge. Many find it sounds a bit like a mix of Guided By Voices and Pavement, which is definitely true.

Front man Will Toledo doesn't look like a rock star at all, but merely an anti-hero. With his skinny appearance, nerdy glasses and his suit it looks like he came straight from some mind numbing office job in a cubicle. But when the band is playing he actually is showing some charisma. When the jacket goes off later on the show and when he's doing some awkward dancing he reminds me a bit of a young version of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker.

But enough about appearances, it's the music that counts. Like on the record the music is spot on. The band is able to recreate the sound and dynamics of the record and add energy to it. Guitarist Ethan Ives powers the songs with strong riffs and solo's. Toledo's mumbling makes it hard to hear what he's saying in between songs and even when he's singing but I think they are having a good time. The atmosphere tonight breaths the nineties, not only because of the music. May people are jumping up and down, energized by the catchy rock songs. To some songs they are even singing along like the strong and popular 'Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales'. At the end the band returns for an explosive encore with 'Connect The Dots'. After that people remain in front of the stage, hoping to get some more, but the band doesn't return. You just can't get enough when it's so good. Looking forward to hearing and seeing a lot more from this band.

All Pictures

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1. Fill in the Blank
2. Vincent
3. Maud Gone
4. Destroyed by Hippie Powers
5. Sober to Death
6. Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
7. Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)
8. Famous Prophets (Minds)
9. Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)

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