Photo by Olivia Ladd/ Lifestyles Editor
Last night, indie rockers, Car Seat Headrest, and the quirky 70’s-style pop band The Lemon Twigs came to Mercy Lounge in Nashville. What followed was a sold-out show that proved these artists live up to their hype and Music City’s charm is alive and well.
The Lemon Twigs took the stage in an unabashed fashion, set up with a drummer, bassist, keyboardist and guitarist. The vocals were shared evenly between the drummer and guitarist, brothers Brian and Michael D’addario, who swapped instruments halfway through the set. The posh but punk band currently has two singles out, released through a 7″ this summer. That being said, the crowd was completely unfamiliar with the set list, but that didn’t stop the flood of applause at the end of every song. D’addario was somehow capable of balancing playing lead guitar while jumping high in the air and kicking on just about every other drum beat. Their white flare pants under the stage lights made it hard for them to be ignored and associated the group with the late 60s/early 70s even further. The hidden star of the band was the bassist, Megan Zeankowski, who carried the band with a fuzzy tone and groovy but disciplined playing.
After a short break, Car Seat Headrest was up. The man of the hour, Will Toledo, who began Car Seat Headrest alone and has put out seven albums since 2013, came out alone with his electric guitar. He cozied up to the mic and the room fell silent as he began with ballad Way Down, the lights dimmed and everyone staring intently. The rest of the band shuffled on stage, playing “Cosmic Hero” from latest release Teens of Denial. Instantly, the energy in the room shifted; the lights changed and fans were dancing within moments. The band continued with hits such as “Joe Goes to School,” “Fill in the Blank” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers.” What was so exceptional about Car Seat’s Headrest set wasn’t that they played their most popular songs from Spotify or that their indie rock was catchy– it was almost the opposite appeal. Born from a cult internet following, the band played specifically to their niche audience, consequently curating a fitting, intimate experience. Toledo’s vocals are surely what catches one’s attention upon the first listen of a Car Seat Headrest song. Putting the band in a live setting allowed for variation and a viable, electric passion to emerge from the singer. The group even covered “Blackstar” by David Bowie, putting an indie rock spin on the piece. When their set ended, the crowd did not hesitate to beg for “one more song.” The band came back to the stage in the open arms of the roaring crowd. Toledo led a cover of “Ivy” from Frank Ocean‘s notable new album and ended the night with “Unforgiving Girl (She’s Not An).” Car Seat Headrest is already going where indie rock is set to head in the near future. They break boundaries without trying at all, and put on a humble performance with no shortcuts.
Check out the gallery below to see photos from the show.