'TV'. They've picked this crowd right. It's one from Naked Giants but the band are playing as part of Car Seat Headrest. A super ensemble. Rock heroics. Okay, that's enough.
Will Toledo is wearing an Angry Beavers tee. The irony is not lost. There's an understated hold on irony that runs out from this choice of dress and colours his work.
And well shorts. Short shorts. It's hot.
Car Seat's in heroic rock band mode. Yet Willl is slooping stage corner. Cooly disinterested, you can tell by the tone of his voice. All part of the show.
'Nervous Young Inhumans'. From the lo-fi iteration of Twin Fantasy or 2018's polished rework, doesn't matter. It arrives as the first Car Seat song proper.
Crashing riffs, That was good. This band's the bomb.
Attempted banter. "YOU'RE A FUCKING LEGEND!" Goes the drunk. Another song.
Wait. Is that familiar? Yeah, it's one of Neil Young's. 'Powderfinger'. Powderfinger's John Collins, part owner of - The Triffid. A clever salute or is that reading too much in? Structure breaks down. A new song melds in halfway, 'Sober to Death'.
Covers, covers. Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Boxer' comes on next. It's played with flair but how many interpretations can we take. God, if he plays another this'll cease to be a Car Seat- Naked Giants gig. But you know, the hard-rockin' absurdity is kinda fun.
There's a sort of Neil Young & Crazy Horse thing going on here. The physicality of the performance is something else. Toledo's musicians, augmented by the aforementioned Naked Giants, are controlled like a fun uncle would direct unruly children.
"I'm told this is mild for here. Is that true?" drummer Andrew Katz exclaims before 'Drunk Drivers/ Killer Whales' thunders out with an extra-slow torch burning tempo. Everyone sings along. Is Will kind of embarrassed behind the showbiz smile or does he dig the unintentional power and pull of his own creation?
"I have become such a negative person," he shoots out with resignation as he curls toward and away from the mic. The heart bleeds. Will started the show skulking in the wings but kicking into full-gear. He's all out.
"Tell my mother I'm going home." Viva guitar music! I'm drunk. Eight feet of speakers an arms length from my body are kicking in eardrums but YES! This is it! This is exciting. The lights are nice.
The band exists predictably early so the crowd stomps. The ritual of the pre-planned encore. Toledo returns again, slouching over his double stack of synth or keys. The band re-enters one by one. The drummers last. Did I mention there's two?
Encore! Fragments of Frank Ocean's 'White Ferrari' bleed into 'Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)' and 'Famous'. These closing moments bring the energy down nicely. Will dives into the emotional abyss, vocals pushed to the tattered edge and reports back from oblivion one last time. Transcendence, if just for a moment.
Then it ends. The band walks offstage. Quick waves and barely a sideways glance.
Review by Riley Fitzgerald.