all words: Morgan Fecto, all photos: Shauna Alexander
Monday night at 930 club was an evening of refurbished cliches and full audience engagement. Including, but not limited to, a crowd surfing “manager” with a southern affect and a third eye.
Ty Segall’s opener Wand gave its audience a lot to enjoy. The L.A. foursome did a wonderful job repurposing “rock” tropes into something original. Before I listened, I noticed these things in Wand’s performance: a shirtless and heavy-handed drummer, an erratic and colorful light show, and four hairstyles ranging from a Rob Zombie shag to a rattail mullet. They all headbanged. Even the scrappy lead singer (with the All Time Low lazy faux-hawk) headbanged. It was all familiar, but the cliches seemed genuine and new when Wand put them together.
Their sound also voided the hokiness because it was complex, energetic, and tight. The singer sounded like a displaced member of the Hollies. The guitars were melodic and full. The bass grated and rattled. At times, it was closer to a band like Tool’s bass. In a genre overcrowded with boring surf-punk and been-there-heard-that garage rock, these conflicting sounds were refreshing. The audience whooped and bobbed to Wand’s whole set, which complemented Ty Segall’s like a Mikal Cronin/Wand split EP. My neck is sore still, but it was worth it.
The crowd packed in tightly, and sweated in anticipation of the main event. The band’s manager, a fellow named “Jimmy Longhorn” in a blue three-piece suit and no shirt, warmed us up before Ty Segall. “We come from Jupiter. That’s the Jupitian flag and we salute it 12 times a day,” Longhorn said, pointing at their banner behind the stage. “Doors were great. They were on at seven so we missed them,” he cracked. I smelled the roasted red pepper on a burp from someone nearby. It wasn’t important. Ty Segall/Ty Segall Band/Mikal Cronin/Everyone came out. Longhorn closed his pie hole. And my head exploded. They broke into “Manipulator,” a single from the newest album of the same name. That’s when the crowd melted like David Bowie makeup on a sweaty brow.
Much like the video for “Manipulator,” the band’s performance promoted fun and interactivity. There was crowdsurfing and stage diving from the audience and the band. There was moshing and mid-crowdsurf somersaulting. One drunk guy knocked the keyboard over before his stage dive. Another tried to put his Orioles hat on Segall while he was soloing. People shouted “Thank God for the Sinners,” which the band played second to last. Longhorn crowd mechanical-bulled. Toward the end, some moshers grabbed Segall’s legs and lifted him up. He thrusted his guitar like a trident. All this unfolded against a boisterous psych-punk backdrop. It was as satisfying as it was plentiful.
The songs sounded even better than they do on Ty Segall’s 10,000 albums, but what I liked best was the zeal that they performed it with. I haven’t seen many big indie acts with such flare or audience rapport (without bordering on memehood). Mark Kozelek will interact, but only to call you a hillbilly or a racist or to say how tired he is. Cloud Nothings will play their asses off, but they’ll look down most of the time. Damn kids. At least we have Ty Segall. Flying free through a crowd of briney sinners.