Uniting the crowd

On the surface, Ty Segall just seems like some dude from San Francisco, by way of Laguna Beach, who lives to skate, surf and jam. His industrious output of solo albums, as well as collaborative efforts with the likes of White Fence, Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees in a small number of years, added to the fact that he played all of the instruments himself on the studio recording of his albums, including his latest, ‘Twins’, and has also previously performed these live as a one man band, indicates that here is a guy who also struggles to sit still for two minutes.

Though probably a happy-go-lucky chap and not one who needs to be analysed too deeply, there’s something about the gut-churning riffs and some fury filled lyrics that have become more decipherable with each album (the vocals have noticeably been turned up a notch for ‘Goodbye Bread’ and even more so for this year’s ‘Slaughterhouse’ and ‘Twins’) that illustrates a slight sense of frustration with aspects of life and commercialism, just as much as the simple need to just let loose and have fun. Thus providing a welcome antithesis to the whimsical MTV culture and some of the twinkly musical odes that have created a false, pretentious illusion of his home state.

Mere moments after tonight’s righteous support act Sauna Youth got everyone riled up and ready to go, some shaggy haired boys take to the stage to adjust pieces of kit. A strawberry blonde chap is fiddling with a microphone stand, and as a slightly merry audience slowly looks up to realise it is the main event, Ty himself, they start to cheer. He interrupts tuning, points his finger and gestures as if to say “Not yet, guys,” only to fire up straight into a new song seconds later - his most recent release ‘Thank God for the Sinners’. From the word go, two innocent bystanders stand between myself and a bubbling cauldron of excitable people who are bouncing off each other and thrashing around. A girl with a tie-dye t-shirt, in a rather dramatic fashion, repeatedly swan dives off the stage to be caught by loyal strangers, and several other chancers follow suit. Ty gives intermittent knowing smirks by way of approval of the mayhem stirring below as he wiles out into pleasingly protruding riffs. Throughout succinct, pounding hitters like ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Melted’, which go down as well as the most recent heavy hitters from this year’s albums. He and his trusty bassist, Mikal Cronin, duel and spur each other on, Mike furiously pounding out the bass that is held above his naval, Beatles-style, whilst Ty wiles out and throws himself on and off the floor, as if his axe is almost anthropomorphically taking a hold over him.

Total unashamed joy comes in the form of ‘Caesar’ with its melodically gorgeous lyric “Why must the people cry?” uniting the crowd in a mass sing-along that makes us inclined to put my arm around the stranger next to us (we refrain) until it ascends into an extended instrumental driven by Emily Rose Epstein’s incessant drumming and, in the absence of a piano on the stage tonight, an extensive face melting guitar solo that could give ‘Free Bird’ a run for its money. Only thankfully, this one is a more succinct affair than the aforementioned nine-minute blow out. As they filter off the stage after a thorough encore for the second and last time tonight, he looks up, somewhat amused by the bra tangled in the lighting and shares a wry final thought: ‘Stay in school, kids.’ 


Words by Chloe Warnock

Photos by Rachel Lipsitz


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