Vintage tees, Doc Martens, and of course, beanies. That basically sums up the ambience of White Oak Music Hall Wednesday night. What surprised me though, wasn’t the fact the venue was pretty much entirely occupied by conventional hipsters (considering the guy they ultimately came to see was the pinnacle stature of the phrase) but rather the non-existent age bracket. There were youngsters with their cellphones snapping away selfies and such, adults with a couple drinks (some a few too many), and even some seniors holding it down.
Prior to the show, I had honestly never heard of Naked Giants. The Seattle-based trio shoved some intense rock and roll down the throats of every individual who was honestly, probably expecting some dull Indie band. Drummer Henry Lavellee made his way to the stage and was quick to begin pouncing, and I mean pouncing, a steady 4/4 drum beat. The remaining two band mates, bassist Gianni Aiello and lead guitarist Grant Mullen, joined along but began a performance of their own. Mullen stood with a mop of hair covering his face, building enough energy to head-bang but still remaining faceless. Aiello’s act fluctuated between flinging his bass around and knee-high stomping through the floor (imagine a young Les Claypool). Naked Giants opened with their track “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)” and drove through the rest of their album SLUFF, including the guitar heavy, “TV,” and the title track “SLUFF.” By the time they were done, they gave a few whole-some speeches about ensuring safety among our neighboring peers and unforgettably, a kick-ass performance.
Naked Giants set the bar pretty high for the headliner. Car Seat Headrest took a dimly light stage around 9 p.m., forcing me to squint to count how many musicians were present. I counted a total of seven, but couldn’t recognize anyone until the lights flashed sporadically. It was Naked Giants! They had accompanied the band on stage, which the crowd, including yours truly, loved. Frontman Will Toledo wore his usual boxy frames with a button-down long sleeve. His humorous sarcasm spoke through the microphone just as easily as it does through his records. The band went through many of their hit songs from Twin Fantasy, such as “Bodys“ and “Sober to Death,” without excluding tracks from their previous album Teens of Denial, such as “Fill in the Blank“ and “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.” CSHR managed to make every song feel like a closer. One after another, they used the accumulated energy from the last track and released it on the next. The entire night was a dance party with colorful lights and sweaty hipsters and it was really, really fun.