Upsetting the rhythm
Ty Segall - Live At Tufnell Park Dome, London

Before the gig Ty Segall is sitting beside the stage drinking a bottle of beer surveying the large dance-hall of Tufnell Park Dome, located above North London’s Boston Arms. The venue is reminiscent of an old Working Men’s Club, flanked with tables and chairs, dart boards and bay windows and it feels as though you could be walking into a black and white movie with couples swing dancing around you. ‘Upset the Rhythm,’ the live promoter behind the gig have a banner adorning the back of the stage and as Ty and his band collect their instruments and begin hammering the distortion for opener, ‘Death’. You feel this is a mantra they are going to live by tonight to blow the dust off this vintage arena.

This year is set to be a manic one for the multi-talented San Franciscan garage rocker, with three albums planned for release. In some ways tonight is a celebration of the most recent album, ‘Slaughterhouse’ recorded with his touring band and the first three songs from the offering open tonight’s gig. ‘I Bought My Eyes’ has the familiarity of a Segall song with crunchy riffs nestled with piercing vocals and scuttling percussion after opening harmonies, yet the level of scuzz and penetration reveals a more sinister side. ‘Slaughterhouse’ follows in this vein; a wind-tunnel of a song where the guitar and rhythm section rips through the crowd as Segall’s ear-splitting vocals reverberate and hurtle past. Sam the soundman, kitted in a Tool t-shirt receives a nod and a smile from the band at this point who, like the crowd, appreciate the sheer volume and raucousness of which the acoustics of this dancehall aptly adds.

The set is a relentless trip of feverish garage riffs ranging from ‘60s freakbeat psychedelia, ‘70s punk and garage to early ‘80s hardcore sampled in a set that spans Segall’s impressive career, which at only 25 is already vast. While songs from the most recent release are heavier, older songs like ‘Imaginary Person’ oblige a transition from head banging to shoulder strutting, full of swagger and groove that inspire you to twist and shake like a ‘60s beach girl. As with many of his recordings, the gig feels like a joyride, with no time for pause or reflection as the distortion fades from one track and roars into another. There is a brief stillness as Segall and Charlie Moothart’s guitars are intertwined for the start of , ‘Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart’ but this tribute to big and overstated solos are soon disrupted with an outburst of rasping guitars played at break-neck speed sending the growing mosh-pit at the front into a frenzy. In fact by the time set closer ‘Wave Goodbye’ is played there is a gangway of teens hovering by the stage ready to crash into their peers, something which Segall gladly indulges.

Returning to the stage the band lead a tirade of “Oi”s as Ty cheekily introduces, “a song we wrote five years ago” before launching into AC/DC’s, ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’; a fitting end and a reminder that you can complicate many things in life but with rock ‘n’ roll there is none better than that which is loud and relentless.

Words by Andrew Darby
Photos by Sean Carpenter

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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