Live Review: Car Seat Headrest's huge Rosemount gig
One of this generation’s most prolific rock acts, Car Seat Headrest treated Perth fans to an exhilarating set, fresh from his appearance at the inaugural Sydney City Limits festival.
Kicking the night off was a young local act. Spacey Jane are a rising band in the scene, and it’s easy to see why. Tight musicianship, duelling guitars held together by catchy hooks, a driving rhythm section and boy-girl harmonies got the night off to a great start.
In a move that may have caught the unaware off guard, The Naked Giants actually kicked off the Car Seat Headrest set. The three-piece were absorbed into the Car Seat band, which totalled seven members, and played two of their own tracks in the headline slot; one in the introduction and one later in the evening. This would have been an issue if the band were bad, but thankfully, they were not, making this one of the many enjoyable quirks of the night.
The Car Seat set really kicked off with ‘The Ending of Dramamine’, off How to Leave Town. From there, the band largely performed tracks off the new-but-not-really 2018 album Twin Fantasy, a total remake of their lo-fi 2011 Bandcamp classic of the same name. These songs were bolstered by the added members, with the two percussionists exposing an undeniable groove. They also allowed for some beautiful harmonies, notably on the 13-minute ‘Beach Life-in-Death’.
Fans of 2016’s Teens of Denial were also treated to slightly-redone versions of ‘Fill in the Blank’ and ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’, the latter drawing by far the biggest singalong of the night. Throughout, Will Toledo held down the centre stage frontman role, reminding me somewhat of Matt Berninger of The National in his manner. His deep voice was deceptively malleable, giving way to broken shouts and smoky spoken word passages alike. The main set was closed by ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’, one of the songs off Twin Fantasy that was almost completely rewritten.
In ‘Cute Thing’, Toledo sings: “Give me Frank Ocean’s voice/and James Brown’s stage presence/ I will be your rock God.” What Sunday night proved was that Toledo’s own voice and stage presence are magnetic enough. An encore that began with a cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘White Ferrari’ before seamlessly transitioning into ‘Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)’ and concluding on 'Destroyed by Hippie Powers' was the icing on the cake of a marvellous rock gig, full of dancing and shouting. Despite a handful of crowd members shoving a bit too much (which comes with the territory), the night was a perfect celebration of one of indie rock’s brightest stars.