Show Review: Car Seat Headrest

Photography by Erin Norton

By Erin Norton, Membership Assistant

​​Artist: Car Seat Headrest

Venue: House of Blues

When: Saturday, March 26th

I still remember when I first heard Car Seat Headrest’s music. I was sitting in the backseat of a friend's car in my freshman year of high school. We listened to their newest album Teens of Denial and I absolutely adored it. 

From that moment on, Car Seat Headrest’s music became a defining trait of my high school experience. To have the opportunity to see them live was all I wanted for the longest time, so to finally experience that at the House of Blues Saturday night was incredible to say the very least.



Due to unforeseen circumstances, Bartees Strange was unable to perform the opening act for the Boston show, so the group figured out a makeshift solution. They decided to put on a hybrid between an open mic night and an overall variety show, where members of the group would individually perform. 

The opening act began with Andrew, who plays the drums, drawing on a canvas and creating abstract art. While he was painting and drawing, he made quips about how he became an expert after spending one day at MassMoca, where they had just performed the other night. After he created one piece, he stayed up there while Ethan, who plays the guitar and bass, played a song from his project Toy Bastard. The second song he performed was an unreleased and unfinished piece. 

After Ethan’s performance, lead singer Will came on the stage to perform two songs from before his time in Car Seat Headrest, “The Bell Jar” and “Pomegranate Trees in July.” Following this, much to the audience’s delight, he played “Sober to Death” from the band’s Twin Fantasy album — a classic of theirs. 

Soon to follow was another act from Andrew, who showed off some of his solo project, 1 Trait Danger. He played two of his songs “Unique” and “Back Up (He’s the Man).” During these two songs, Will took over the easel and created his own picture based on Andrew’s songs. After this, their variety show concluded, the show continuing as previously planned.



Most bands, when they go on tour, tend to forget their early albums to focus on new releases, but that was not the case with Car Seat Headrest. They played lots of their older music, arguably even more than the music from their most recent album Making a Door Less Open. 

This importance of older works was apparent from the start of the show when they opened with “Crows,” a song from their 2013 album Nervous Young Man. As a longtime fan who primarily only listens to their older music, I was truly so grateful to hear some of my favorite songs from previous albums being played for me such as “Fill in the Blank,” “1937 State Park,” “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” and “Beach Life-in-Death.”  



Scattered throughout their older music, which brought back lots of fond memories for me, they played some of their newer music. As was mentioned before, I am not too familiar with their newer music, but this live performance helped me gain a much greater appreciation of their latest album. The songs from that album that they played were “Weightlifters”, “Hymn - Remix”, “Hollywood,” “Can’t Cool Me Down,” and “Deadlines (Hostile),” all of which fit in perfectly with the flow and emotions of the setlist as a whole. After this performance, I added lots of these newer songs to my own personal playlists, eager to relive the live performance I witnessed. 



Not only did the show begin wonderfully, but it ended just as powerfully. The second to last song they played was “Beach Life-in-Death,” which is a 13-minute long song. One of Car Seat Headrest's strengths is the ability to write long songs that still maintain the audience’s attention. Not only is the song's capability to entertain amazing just from streaming it, but this song is absolutely enthralling when listening to it live. The energy in the venue was at its peak while this song was playing. The set then ended perfectly with their final song “Deadlines (Hostile),” from their latest album. 

As a whole, the concert was incredibly fulfilling with lots of incredible moments, and it was a personal dream come true moment for me. It also kept the audience wanting more and more. I know for a fact that just from this performance alone, I will be keeping Car Seat Headrest’s discography on repeat for a long time to come.

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