Live Review: Ty Segall; special show announcement even more imminent…

Category: Reviews — Tags: — @ 9:05 am May 8, 2024
Ty Segall at The Waiting Room, May 7, 2024.

by Tim McMahan,

Ty Segall and his four-piece backing band came on just after 9 p.m. last night at The Waiting Room, playing to a large (though not sold out) crowd. There was an olfactory preview of what we were about to see and hear as pungent pot smoke oozed from some hidden place behind the stage, presumably from the green room. 

Segall and his band ripped into a handful of songs from the band’s lastest album, Three Bells, that, when performed live, sounded more like ‘70s prog-rock than the psych/garage sound Segall is known for. Choppy, complicated riffs supported choppy, complicated songs.

Segall is first and foremost a guitar player, completing every song with intricate fills and stratospheric solos. In the ‘70s, for some guitar heroes just shredding at that level was enough – no need for vocals. But to his credit, Segall sings above whatever clever riff he’s invented. He doesn’t really have a rock voice, but unlike early in his career when he barked through static distortion, last night Segall’s vocals were unfettered — what you heard is what you got, mostly for the better. 

Ty Segall and his band at The Waiting Room, May 7, 2024.

It wasn’t until the band ripped into a heavy, funky version of “I Hear” (so much better than the recorded version) that things really took off. Like the first time I saw him play back in 2013 at Sokol Underground, Segall set up in the stage-right corner and sang and played toward the drummer and rest of the band throughout the entire set, never directly facing the crowd. If you were standing stage left you had a view of his back all night, only briefly looking up or to the left through his thick, blond shag. 

After that song, his bass player complained about the stage lighting that was seemingly being beamed directly into his eyes. “Can you douse that; I can’t see shit.” The lights were cut with only dim rear stage lighting, until Segall asked, “Can you turn it up the light, I can’t see my friends?” *Light* “They’re back!

Another set highlight was a tight version of “Whisper,” off 2021’s Harmonizer album.  Yet another was an intensely groovy version of “Ghost” off 2012’s Twins, which Segall said had been a request received before the set. It wasn’t until about 45 minutes in that the band ripped through a handful of the garage-rock songs.

That contrast in styles – from the intricate prog to dense rock to garage noise – kept it interesting throughout a loud evening that no doubt would have been even more enjoyable if I’d been high…

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Yesterday’s announcement that Roger Daltrey and Inhaler (a.k.a. Bono’s Son’s Band) are playing this year’s Memorial Park Concert June 28 was not the “imminent” show announcement I implied yesterday, nor was the announcement that Fontaines D.C. are playing Slowdown Oct. 5 – though both shows were a welcome surprise. 

No, the show to be announced tomorrow will take place at a much more intimate “venue,” but you’ll just have to wait to find out who – and were – it wil be…

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