Photography by Lizzie Heintz
By Mica Kendall
Tearing Royale down 5 months prior with a sold out crowd fueled by adrenaline centered around their reissued album in 2018, Twin Fantasy, the 4 piece band, Car Seat Headrest, returned to Boston for another sold out show at Royale iconically on Valentines Day.
The crowd demographic encompassing the special Valentines Day show was unsurprisingly composed of a large majority of young couples. However, there were plenty of attendees without a significant other in the crowd whether heartbroken or not. The intense emotions emulating from the crowd throughout the hour and a half set was prevalent throughout the entire night full of lyric screaming, crowd surfing, and chaotic moshing.
Switching gears from their previous show in September, frontman, Will Toledo, addressed to attendees who were at the last show that the night would be full of setlist surprises differing from their last show. Immediately, Car Seat Headrest kicked off the show with an unreleased track called “Can’t Cool Me Down” emphasizing heavy electronic keyboard instrumentals and showcasing Toledo’s wide vocal range in the chorus.
The show transitioned smoothly with little breaks as Toledo delivered a ton of fan favorite hits such as the second track of the night being, “Bodys,” which instantaneously upon the first beat conjured up a lively mosh pit.
Fans were practically screaming the chorus “Don’t you realize our bodies could fall apart at any second?/ I am terrified your body could fall apart at any second” at a louder vocal capacity than Toledo, while jumping and thrashing their arms in the arm. The moshing and evident display of blissful faces in the crowd continued when “Cute Thing” followed shortly after “Bodys” as fans howled the repetitious “do do do’s” throughout the entire fiery guitar solo delivered by guitarist Ethan Ives.
Members of the opening band, Naked Giants, also joined Car Seat Headrest on stage for their entire set emulating as much energy from their set onto Car Seat’s set. Drummer, Henry LaVallee, pounded a tambourine and cowbell while standing on top of the speaker during songs like “Cute Thing” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers.” While guitarist, Grant Mullen, and keyboardist, Gianni Aiello instrumentally contributed to backing up the rest of Carseat's band.
In essence, the entirety of the show was every genuine Car Seat Headrest fan’s setlist dream come true, with a taste of every album prevalent throughout the entire set.
Ranging from their 2012 album Monomania playing songs like “Maud Gone” to their staple 2016 album Teens of Denial with “Fill in the Blank” and their number one hit “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.” Toledo kept his word with setlist surprises previewing another unreleased track called “Weightlifters” and delivering a lighthearted, sweet rendition of Neil Young’s song “Powderfinger.” Before the encore, Toledo even stopped the set to let Naked Giants bassist, Gianni Aiello, grant a prom-posal request on behalf of the band for a fan named Sarah. Though, Sarah did not reveal her identity to the crowd it was safe to say the proposal was a memorable, romantic, punk rock Valentines Day gesture.
The night concluded with the best and longest encore song, being Car Seat Headrest’s 13 minute track “Beach Life-In-Death.” The entire 4 part song is just one big consistent upbeat build up full of guitar solos and Toledo going on a lyrical rollercoaster throughout an entire tale of heartbreak and personal mental strife. “Beach Life-In-Death” in its entire essence as a song affirms Car Seat Headrest’s appeal and deserving success with the song delivering a sense of realness when it comes to not only one’s relationship with other people, but also with one’s sense of self. Seen throughout multiple limbs attempting to crowd surf during the song, “Beach Life-In-Death” is truly a song live that one could get lost in the moment of time and indulge in the euphoria that is connecting with both the music and fans around you.
Overall, Car Seat Headrest not only outdid themselves from their previous performance at Royale, but they also delivered a powerful set that will resonate with everyone’s 2019 Valentine’s Day memory. Currently, Car Seat Headrest is on tour with Naked Giants throughout the entire east coast to the South till March. If you missed their epic show in Boston, Car Seat Headrest and Naked Giants will be back in the East Coast for a summer tour in June.