Car Seat Headrest consists of frontman genius behind the music Will Toledo, guitarist Ethan Ives, drummer Andrew Katz, and bassist Seth Dalby. Ben Roth appears on this tour on keyboards to support the band.
This is their 2022 North American tour, “The Masquerade Tour,” to support the release of the “Making a Door Less Open” (2020) album. Originally, this tour was meant to occur in early 2020 but COVID-19 has delayed it until now.
Hundreds of people waited in line to get the best possible spot, myself included who waited six hours before doors opened. Waiting wasn’t a problem, until it started raining.
A few hours into the wait, the band released a statement on their social media accounts saying that their opening act, Bartees Strange, would not be performing due to testing positive for COVID-19 from their show on March 26. They ensured that in lieu of an opening act, each member would play a few songs and perform acts themselves.
It only took about an hour for the band to hit the stage. Andrew came out on stage and began painting on a canvas, joking he had learned a lot from playing at MASS MoCA the night before.
Andrew continued to paint as Ethan came up on stage and played a few Toy Bastard (his solo band) songs. He even played an untitled and unreleased track he made prior to the show.
Will then came out and performed some very special songs. He played a few songs from his project, “Nervous Young Men” including “The Bell Jar” and “Pomegranate Trees In July.” He then played a heavily requested Car Seat Headrest song, “Sober to Death.”
Andrew then switched places with Will and played a few “1 Trait Danger” songs while Will painted in the background. “1 Trait Danger” is Car Seat Headrest’s comedy and EDM project. He performed “Unique” and “Back Up (He’s The Man).”
This opening segment felt very intimate and special. Though Bartees Strange couldn’t make it, Car Seat Headrest definitely made up for the loss of the opening band and created such an exclusive experience for everyone.
As the main act began, the lights dimmed and everyone in the band got into their places as the crowd roared.
Will took the form of his character, Trait. Trait sports a mask that looks like a gas mask with LED lights in the eyes, rabbit ears, and a reflective orange, gray, and black suit.
Throughout the show, the eyes in his suit matched up with the lights and music they played. They blinked, became wavy, turned into hearts, and flashed depending on what song they were playing. This added a unique touch to the performance.
They mostly played songs off of “Making a Door Less Open” since this tour supports the album, but that didn’t stop them from playing fan favorites from their past albums.
The band began with “Crows,” which has a slow build to a high-energy section. I think it is a perfect introduction to this show because it excites the audience while showing them what is to come.
A special moment was when they played “Beach Life-In-Death,” a personal favorite. It is almost 14 minutes long and fluctuates between slow and fast sections. Will paused the song and had the crowd sing the line “this is my brother” a few times, building it louder each time. They then resumed the song. It was exciting to hear a whole room of people participate and unite in this way.
Car Seat Headrest never lost the audience’s attention. All performances were packed with emotion and energy which I have never seen to this level, especially during songs like “Destroyed By Hippie Powers” and “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.”
A phenomenal performance, and an experience I will never forget.