Archive for the ‘Naked Giants’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 18, 2018] Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest had one of the most annoying crowds I’ve ever been a part of.  The show was sold out and I got there later than I meant to.  So I was more in the middle of the crowd than up front.  Usually this is a pretty tame spot, but this crowd was rowdy, with a lot of individuals pogoing pretty hard (enough to get me pretty angry at one particular guy–which rather spoiled my mood for a couple of songs).

In fact a few things were irritating me this night which made it kind of hard for me to get into Car Seat Headrest.  The crowd was one but also was the fact that they took forever to get on stage after Naked Giants left (I realize now that Naked Giants were in the live Car Seat Headrest band, and they probably could use a breather, but it was a long wait between bands).

Car Seat Headrest was just Will Toledo for many years.  From 2010-2015 he released 12 albums (!) on bandcamp.  He has gotten a band [Will Toledo (vocals, guitar, piano), Ethan Ives (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Seth Dalby (bass), and Andrew Katz (drums, percussion)], then he/they signed to Matador, re-recorded a bunch of old songs for a compilation, made a new album and then re-recorded one of his older albums.

I was really surprised by how rocking and crazy the band were live.  I love when a band is bigger than their album makes them seem, so this boded well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 18, 2018] Naked Giants

I had never heard of Naked Giants before this show.  But apparently I was in the minority, because everyone in the club seemed to know these guys (even though they apparently have never played Philly before?).  The dudes next to me knew every word of every song and slammed and pogoed through the whole set (and I was pretty far back so this was irritatingly out of place–keep the slamming to the pit, dudes).

Naked Giants is a three-piece from Seattle.  Sure they play grunge, but they mix in some pop elements and a full dose of indie rock as well.  Both the guitarist and the bassist sing lead.  The drummer is a maniac and he left his kit several times to walk around–sometimes mid song.

They are one of the most fun bands I’ve seen live in a really long time.

The band came out and they played a huge intro of noise.  It went on for quite a while–noise and flashing lights and everything and then they settled into “Dead/Alien.” Both guitarist Grant Mullen and bassist Gianni Aiello sang lead on.

It was followed by “Regular Guy” which is indeed about a regular guy–but with a wicked guitar solo–because even though they play indie rock, Mullen totally shreds.

They played a new song called “TV” which has a very new waves-sounding staccato guitar line.  It is sung in a detached new wave style until the bass and fuzz guitar kick in and it turns onto a heavy grunge song for a few measures before reverting to the new wave sound.  The middle has a long noisy jam/freakout section which was a lot of fun.

They were jumping around like lunatics during most of the show with Aiello doing a great left/right jump kick through one of the rocking sections.

On one occasion when Henry LaVallee got our from behind his kit, he walked around the drums, hit one cymbal from the other side and sat down.  Another time he got up and engaged with the audience.  I love this picture in which he was showing the audience his phone (no idea why), but it looks like the guy in the crowd is holding a tiny light.

When they announced the song “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows),” a kind of bratty surf punk song, the guys near me went berserk.  They sang along and even added their own call and response to the vocals (which you can hear in this clip).  The band really appreciated it and waves to the guys.

Then they played the title track from their recent album, Sluff.  About this song, Aiello told Billboard

“I just needed a word for the chorus of that song,… I knew I wanted to shout something, but I didn’t know what. I was hanging out with my girlfriend and I said, ‘Hey, what’s a good grunge-sounding word?’ She thought for a minute and then said ‘Sluff!’ I said, ‘That’s perfect!’ It sounds like something Soundgarden might do. It’s just a nonsense word.”

And he is totally right, it is a ton of fun to sing along to “oh oh oh oh oh sluff!”

Toward the end of their set they played a song called “Twist” which was in fact, more or a less a twist (Aiello turned and faced the crowd and shook his butt at us twist-style).  There was a middle part that had a solo or two from each guy.  In Aiello’s solo he did a bass line from Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” which was pretty cool.

It was followed by ta total freak out called “Green Fuzz.”  This song went on for about ten minutes.  There was a middle section that involved all of them making as much noise as possible and Mullen ultimately lying on his back, feet in the air, doing whatever it was he was doing (I couldn’t really see him).  He stayed down there for a good five minutes while Henry LaVallee went bonkers on the drums–it was like a drum solo but without the pretension.  Meanwhile, Aiello was keeping things mostly under control with his bass, although he was also playing behind his head at one point.

They ended with “Ya Ya” an incredibly fun song and perfect set ender with the wonderfully deep chorus of “Oh, ya ya ya ya hey, Whoo hoo!”  It’s basically one more wild jam before the set crashes to a conclusion.

They were fantastic and I’d definitely see them again.

It turns out that Naked Giants are also part of Car Seat Headrest’s live band.  They became friends with Will Toledo several years ago  “I think it’s been pretty fun, though, kind of like a big boost. We get to play way bigger shows than we would by ourselves. We open for them, too, so it’s a lot of hard work. We’re playing two and a half hours a night, but it’s worth it. It’s what we signed up for.”


  1. Dead/Alien $
  2. Regular Guy
  3. TV $
  4. Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows) $
  5. Sluff $
  6. Slow Dance II $
  7. Twist ¥
  8. Green Fuzz
  9. Ya Ya ¥


¥ R.I.P. EP

$ Sluff






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