The only piece of music from the the garage lo-fi rocker known as Ty Segall that I have become familiar with is his latest release from the new year entitled Emotional Mugger. I have dabbled in his 2014 release Manipulator and thoroughly enjoyed parts of the project that I had time to listen to. I watched his performance at the Seattle KEXP radio station on youtube just to get some sort of an idea of what I would be witnessing within the few days leading up to the concert. I’ve also been told by various people that have seen the outlandish artist live that he puts on quite the memorable performance. Going into the Rialto Theatre I had little expectations of what I should experience. I’m more than pleased to say that those who told me that it would be an unforgettable show were absolutely on the ball; it was one of the most insane performances I have experienced to date.
I unfortunately missed the opening acts since I was running late for the concert. I luckily arrived just in time to see all members of the Ty Segall’s emotional muggers take their respective places on stage. Ty came out wearing a baby mask that looked uncomfortably real when he would wear it on stage. It was quite surreal watching him say anything while wearing the disguise as it fit perfectly onto his face. As soon as the group of musicians started playing one thing stood out immediately, the abrasive noise the band can produce. The first few songs they performed off of Emotional Mugger were “Candy Sam” and “Squealer Two” which best exemplifies what I mean by the band’s abrasive sound. The feedback from the guitars was so intense that I would become discombobulated and I would have to look down to the ground and find my footing. It was THAT loud of a show throughout. I was standing on the right side of the stage with a good ten feet of distance between me and the erratic performers playing away their newly released material.
Security was extremely laid back at the show. Countless audience members would climb up onto the stage and dive back into the crowd. There was an onslaught of people coming up on the platform and diving, almost as if there was a line-up just for the act of stage diving itself. As soon as the song “Diversion” came into play the energy of the auditorium increased by tenfold. It went from a portion of the front of the audience moshing to the entire front part of the stage all moshing together. Soon after performing “Diversion” Ty and the muggers played “California Hills” which was no less intense than the previously played track on the set list. Moshing only became more frantic as it spread like some infectious virus from the front of the stage throughout the centre portion of the crowd.
It was clear as day to see how much the audience was feeding off of the bands crazy stage presence. During one of the tracks that the collective played, Ty put out one of his feet into the front section of compulsive rock fans and the they slowly started raising him straight up in front of the audience. This time he would be standing, or in this case be positioned up upon people’s hands and slowly walk through towards the middle of the crowd while performing. It was an incredible sight to see so many people working together to make the concert a truly unique experience for everyone that was attending. There was also another point during the night where Ty asked for a volunteer from the audience to be apart of his “safety demonstration”. He pulled up a young woman from the crowd and explained that everyone needed to work together to get this woman from the front of the stage to the bartender at the back, shake his hand, then be returned back onto the stage. All of this had to be done WITHOUT the woman touching the ground. As the woman was being drifted into the far back of the theatre by the sea of rock fans, the band jammed out super hard on stage. This was yet again another amazing feat to witness so many people working alongside one another to make a truly memorable show.
By the end of the night I was thoroughly pleased by the experience overall. It was such a visceral sight to see how aggressive the whole atmosphere became from one track to the next. It was clear what everyone who was attending was there for and it was so interesting to observe the kind of demographic Ty Segall pulls for his shows. There were groups of people who looked to be in high school in attendance as well as people who appeared to look as if they very well could have attended one of The Sonics first live performances. If you ever hear about Ty Segall coming back into town I would strongly recommend you snag a ticket right away. Even at the odd chance of the show not selling out, you will definitely want to make sure you reserve yourself a space in the presence of this chaotic display of music.
-Review by Michael Eidelson