WHOOP, I whooped, when I found out that Ty Segall would be returning to Seattle again, a little over a year from his last visit, and performing not ONE, not TWO, but THREE shows at the newly-spruced up Neumos in Capitol Hill! Segall is who I point to when I hear any of that dusty-fart whining that rock music is dead and all the good bands are from (fill in the black with decade of high school/college attendance). LOOK AT MR. TY, say I...here is a young musician who consistently puts out very high quality, very diverse projects, very frequently, and puts on a stellar live show which generally whips the crowd frothy with musical happiness. He's well-earned the froth and mosh and adulation, say I, again and again on this blog, and I am grateful that I'm here on Le Planet during Ty-time.
My enthusiasm to see all three shows was sadly tempered by the realities of My-time, but I was rarin' to go on Night Two, and hustled into Neumos last Friday as Gazebos were about midway through their opening set. One of my favorite local bands, Gazebos always satisfy with extremely well-crafted glitter-glam pop songs and excellent musicianship. They are fun to watch, too, especially lead vocalist Shannon Perry, with her electric frizz hair and tattoos and nifty clothes. Her palest-blue boudoir prom gown was beyond lovely, as was her plastic glow hand from the dollar store. I eagerly await Gazebos second album, where I think they could take over the world.
(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr link to see more!) Gazebos, Neumos, Seattle, WA. 3/3/17 Flickr link
I was not familiar with Chicago-based Axis: Sova before this show. Now that I am, I would ask you: Do you like the electric guitar? If, for some unfathomable reason, you do not, I request you exit to the left and go find some piccolos or something. If you do, HANG ON A SEC so these guys and their drummy machine can play for you. Also, LOUD. Be prepared to say "WHAT?" a lot for a couple of days after.
At first I was perplexed by the sonic assault grounded by only a bip-boopy drum machine, and longed for a live drummer, especially with a kit just sitting there, empty-throned. But on reflection, a live drummer may have been simply too much, and taken away from said psych-blast guitar? It's an interesting balance, and I encourage you to check out their latest album, "Motor Earth," on Drag City/God? Records, which just happens to be a Ty Segall imprint, so there.
Axis: Sova, Neumos, Seattle, WA. 3/3/17 Flickr set link
As always, as the time drew closer until our headlining pal would be onstage, the crowd began to do what crowds do, which was crowd the front until they were near- or actively-horizontal, stacked like joyous, wiggling logs. This is the time when your camera-lugging pal, which is me, makes the call to stay front or split to another location. I hate hate hate to give up a front spot, but for me with medical concerns, it would not be safe at all in this case. Here is where I give my sincere and deep thanks to the security staff at Neumos for allowing me to photograph from the ADA-accommodations section at the side of the stage. The crowd could continue to happily crowd, and I could do my work without worry, and smile and sing along.
Much of the set, like the excellent "Break A Guitar" early on, came from Segall's recently-released self-titled album (his second S/T, why not). The Freedom Band kicked into full drive right away, and the headbanging commenced. Longtime Segall bandmates Charles Moothart on drums and Mikal Cronin on bass/vocals seem to work telepathically with Ty at this point and are never less than amazing. Rounding out the band was Ben Boye on keyboards and Emmett Kelly returning on guitar/vocals from last year's "Emotional Mugger" tour, also superb.
During many points in the evening, if you closed your eyes you could imagine it was 1969/70, Segall has that heavy, hard rock jam down solid. Not metal, mind you, and not garage, which is the genre Ty is most known for. I think of my old bootleg cassette of the Kinks playing "Love Me Till The Sun Shines" at the Fillmore, that mix of a 3-minute pop song extended with newly-psychedelic range and the novelty of being able to play truly loud for the first time. Segall live also has that similar Kinks trait of being simultaneously tight and loose at the same time -- everything is in place, yes, but there is a certain amount of spontaneity and caution thrown to the air that brings magic into play. To dare to improvise, to try something and fail, or try something and be transcendent and memorable, well, we don't see that much any more, do we? It's breathtaking to see musicians actually take chances, live.
Their cover of The Who's "A Quick One (While He's Away)," while missing a section or two, was goddamn delightful, as were Segall's forays into the crowd, who did the right thing as a crowd and held him up to do rock star hijinks.
Alas, Segall blew out his voice in the last half of the show, an occupational hazard. I think it bothered him more than it bothered anyone else, and him powering through the squeaks and cracks made the crowd, now fully crowded, love him even more. For the final song, an encore, a fan from the front row was brought up to sing AND play guitar quite admirably, and it was really rather wonderful.
Ty Segall, Neumos, Seattle, WA. 3/3/17 Flickr set link
Thank you, thank you, thank you Michelle Cable, Neumos, Kitty Page, Kimberly Morrison, and all the bands.