Concert Review: Ty Segall Band, La Luz, (Then Later) Simply Saucer, September 21, Danforth Music Hall

Ty-Segall

I had to go through a baptism to make it to the show. A third of the way on my trip into oblivion, the sky opened up and poured holy floods. The air cracked open with lightning. It was a Black Sunday. Soaked to the bone, my “What Would Beyonce Do?” button dripping tears of its own, I stumbled up to the ticket booth of the Danforth Music Hall, tripped, and found myself seated comfortably inside, a double Jameson’s in my hand.

Opening by the time I arrived, La Luz were already holding down the dark side of surf rock with aplomb. The Seattle natives had spent the last four dates with Ty and his buddies. So many times an opener feels tacked on, flimsy, made of straw. Not so with La Luz. If they weren’t hand picked by the headliners, then there was an evil genius of a promoter packaging it together. The women moved like a tightly oiled machine, reconnecting the wires of 60s girl groups and rock and roll grit. Dance moves were exploited with sheer delight. They ordered the crowd into forming an aisle and getting down. Lasting impressions were made and many a tall gangly man was seen purchasing a copy of the Damp Face EP after the gig.

One word in commencement/ admission: I think that Ty Segall’s band is possibly the best group of assembled strings and drums currently spinning around on our little globe of earth and water. I keep waiting for Ty to put out a bad album. And after multiple listens of the new LP, Manipulator, it hasn’t happened yet.

They were introduced as the Manipulator Band by their cowboy hat bedecked MC, lending a Spiders from Mars vibe to the performance. Charlie Mootheart, Mikal Cronin, and Emily Rose Epstein played with expert precision and passion alongside their frontman. Cronin wore a coffee coloured utility suit, appearing before us like a plumber who had mistakenly walked on stage and taken control of the heavy, u-bend, bottom end. Mootheart and Epstein dominated, as always. The new album material was delivered with honed intensity: standouts for the evening were the title track, which kicked things into high adrenaline right off the bat, and “Singer,” which pulsated out among the crowd like a collective absinthe dream. Also incredibly affecting, “The Feels” blended both the shy tones of Sleeper with the heaviest of heavy from the big three albums of 2013. Gone is the twee-vibe of five years ago, those simple days of San Fran in stores and “Gloria” covers; the Manipulator Band is Black Sabbath heavy and backhanding its pop stature.

Older album favourites made significant appearances, with the Twins material sharing a heavy load of the set. “Thank God for Sinners” felt like the audience send up it truly is, with crowd surfing children of the night letting loose and flying high. A gentleman in the middle of the crowd cried out, “Caesar,” and like a humble troubadour, Ty started into the Melted classic track, dedicating it to the requesting individual. “Wave Goodbye” closed the set proper, and everyone in the Music Hall knew it was as powerful as anything before played upon that singular stage.

Despite being the love object of both young, peach-faced noise junkies and old school dead heads the world over, Ty and his band still cart their own gear. The bigger this band gets, the easier it is to fall in love with their chill attitude to rock and roll — the music is the most important thing. I have never before seen a band stop the music, point down at the security guards and shout out, “Hey, the crowd can do whatever they want, sorry.” Legit.

ADDENDUM:

Simply Saucer performed at the Smiling Buddha for Ty’s afterparty. The seminal Canadian punk band — you can see Joey Ramone wearing their t-shirt at the conclusion of Rock and Roll High School, yes, they are Daniel Johnston big — played hits old and new. They dedicated “Bulletproof Nothing,” possibly the greatest proto-punk song of all time, to Ty, and played it all the more beautifully, filled with purpose as they were. With a skull-themed theramin and lead Saucerite Edgar Breau sporting a leopard print shirt, the band hearkened back to the dark jungle territory of Screamin Jay Hawkins, when rock and roll was at its rootsiest, its dirtiest, its most powerful.

All three bands that night captured that same fire: they doled out three portions of evil. Everything that came out of the strings of La Luz, Ty’s band, and Simply Saucer felt sentimental and sinister. It was a Black Sunday.

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Posted on by Jack Derricourt in Concerts

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