Carseat Headrest, Bartees Strange @ Brooklyn Steel

Carseat Headrest, Bartees Strange @ Brooklyn Steel

Carseat Headrest at Brooklyn Steel (photo by Emilio Herce)

 

Will Toledo is one of the sharpest and most emotionally affecting songwriters of his generation, full stop. It’s possible that he (and his band Car Seat Headrest) don’t receive the credit they’re due because his band performs loud (!) and he has taken to wearing a mask (reminiscent of Donnie Darko’s Frank The Bunny) on stage. It may be easy, but wrong, to dismiss his impressive live show (and the lights and mask) as a form of spectacle (they are awe-inspiring), but to do so would be missing the point. 

 

I was lucky enough to attend and shoot Car Seat’s first of three sold-out shows at Brooklyn Steel on March 29th, 2022. Toledo and band performed a sharp set full of songs from 2020’s underrated Making A Door Less Open including “Weightlifters,” “Hollywood,” and “Can’t Cool Me Down,” but CSH also delved into songs off the excellent Teens of Denial and the re-released (and album I’m currently obsessed with) Twin Fantasy

 

It’s clear that Toledo has graduated from the lo-fi bedroom recordings that broke him on Bandcamp, lead to his signing to Matador, and has inspired a devoted fandom (including Smashmouth). He’s both an inspired songwriter and poised to take over the role of stadium headliner with one of the finest live bands around. Also, credit to him, that with the bunny mask he’s the only other person other than Britney Spears to figure out how to make a headset mic look cool. Rising indie star Bartees Strange opened the show, returning to Brooklyn Steel after a string of opening dates for Lucy Dacus (see our photos/review here) saw him rock the venue last fall.

 

Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)

 

 

BARTEES STRANGE

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

Bartees Strange performing

 

 

CARSEAT HEADREST

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

Carseat Headrest performing

 

Claud @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Claud @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Claud at Music Hall of Williamsburg (photo by Emilio Herce)

 

Claud played the last night of their Super Monster tour on March 28 to a packed house at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Writing wry (but never cynical), deeply self-aware and personal songs, Claud’s music feels penned with a specific person (or un-requited crush) in mind, but because their songs are so specific they feel lived in and universal. 

 

Claud and their band took the stage, appropriately, to “Eye Of The Tiger” and played a number of songs off their latest record Super Monster including “Overnight,” “Gold,” “In Or In-Between” and closed the set with their hit “Soft Spot,” which has not left my heads since I saw them play it live. 

 

While heartbreaking (but low-key very funny) the songs came alive on stage as performed by Claud’s tight, three piece band. The show was also proof that Claud has come a long way and outgrown the bedroom pop singer-songwriter genre, and is ready to take on stages the size of Music Hall or larger. The show also featured an opening set by Kali.

 

Scroll down for more pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)

 

KALI

Kali performing

Kali performing

Kali performing

Kali performing

Kali performing

Kali performing

 

CLAUD

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

Claud performing

 

 

Wet Leg @ Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg @ Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel (photo by Emilio Herce)

 

Four tour stops in NYC, all immediately sold out. Two late night TV performances, most recently on Jimmy Fallon. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make the case that Wet Leg, the UK duo and recent critical darlings, do not deserve their meteoric rise. An argument that has nothing to do, I’m sure, with the fact the band is fronted by two women who perform indie rock, a genre which notoriously male dominated.

 

I, myself, credit their rise to the lack of their brand of ebullient, funny, smart, and sardonic rock music in the indie scene. As much as I do love the slower, maybe morose is the wrong word, but definitely more muted and sorrowful stock of current indie darlings, there seems to be a fear of bpms over 160 and loud guitars run through a daisy chain of pedals. Wet Leg do not have any such fear, and they proved so at their sold out Brooklyn Steel show on March 10th

 

The show was an upgrade from the 300 cap Baby’s All Right show were I had seen them last (read the review of that show here), to Brooklyn Steel’s 1800 (this show itself was moved from Music Hall of Williamsburg due to demand), and the band didn’t even break a sweat selling it out. Nor were they daunted by the large room which became part dance floor, part good natured mosh pit during their 15 song set which include all the tracks on their forthcoming self-titled debut album. Based on their trajectory I fully expect the band to sell out a couple nights at MSG upon their return, which again, they’d fully deserve!

 

Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)

 

WET LEG

 

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel ‘Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel ‘

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

Wet Leg at Brooklyn Steel

 

 

 

Waxahatchee, Madi Diaz @ Brooklyn Steel

Waxahatchee, Madi Diaz @ Brooklyn Steel

Waxahatchee at Brooklyn Steel (photo by Emilio Herce)

 

It was a true joy to witness the return of Waxahatchee to New York City. Their last tour, in late 2021, found Katie Crutchfield and her band calling it after their show at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere (see pics from that show), after a member of their touring party came down with Covid. That show itself was memorable but the band’s stop on February 10th at Brooklyn Steel certainly felt like a victory lap.

 

Performing songs off her excellent 2020 album, Saint Cloud, Crutchfield, and her band played a confident and engaging set befitting the empathetic and open-hearted songs she writes. It felt like an appropriate time to revisit these songs, which evoke Spring and lilacs (reinforced by the band’s stage setup, festooned in flowers and vines) and is indebted (but never feels contrived) to Americana, folk, and the “three chords and the truth” approach of classic country. Highlights included “Oxbow,” “Can’t Do Much,” “St. Cloud” off her latest, as well as covers of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor” and Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” (which both appeared on the expanded edition of Saint Cloud). The performance was a stark reminder of Waxahatchee’s prowess both as a performer and songwriter, operating in a class with few peers.

 

Madi Diaz opened the show with a stirring, mostly solo, set of songs off her recent album History of a Feeling.

 

Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)

 

MADI DIAZ

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

Madi Diaz performing

 

 

WAXAHATCHEE

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

Waxahatchee performing

 

 

 

A. Savage, My Idea @ TV EYE

A. Savage, My Idea @ TV EYE

A. Savage performing at TV EYE (photo by Emilio Herce)

 

Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts performed a sold-out show at TV EYE this past Friday, February 4th. I’ve long loved Parquet Courts for their energetic songs and live shows, but also for their engaging story songs. Seeing Savage, who performs under the moniker A. Savage, play songs from his excellent 2017 record Thawing Dawn (as well as a few newer songs and covers), it’s clear where the band gets its literary lilt.

 

Savage performed mostly solo, accompanied by a second acoustic guitarist on several songs, and showcased the simmering energy of the album. He apologized (needlessly, he was in fine form) for being rusty, but it seemed like it was the crowd who was out of practice. Perhaps they were expecting this to be a Parquet Courts show (there were several calls for him to play “Freebird II”), but it seems like quarantine has caused some to forget the social niceties of attending a show. One belligerently drunk individual kept interrupting the show to request a song, and after being shushed by the crowd and performer numerous times, marched to the front to berate Savage, who quickly shut him down with more patience than I would have been able to muster. The heckler skulked off, defeated soon after.

 

This didn’t put a damper on the show though, and most seemed thankful to be surrounded by fellow music lovers and enjoying Savage perform songs that were both introspective and personal. The show was opened by My Idea, a project by Palberta‘s Lily Konigsberg and Nate Amos.

 

Scroll down for pics of the show (pics by Emilio Herce)

 

 

MY IDEA

 

 

A. SAVAGE