By Ethan Robinson
Ty Segall is a psychedelia, garage punk-rock artist, who is well-known for being a talented multi-instrumentalist, and for also being the poster boy of the weird underground, Burgerama, indie rock scene. Segall began his career in Orange County, San Francisco, alongside the likes of multiple underground bands in the area. Most notably, the band Thee Oh Sees were among his genre counterparts, Segall being friends with the band’s guitarist and singer, John Dwyer. Segall’s discography is by no means small, releasing eight albums as both a solo artist and with his backing bands, “The Ty Segall Band,” and most recently, “The Muggers.” However, Segall has been a part of numerous bands where he has not been the frontman, one of which being the hard rock sounding three-piece group, “Fuzz”.
Throughout his musical releases, there has certainly been an artistic progression in Ty Segall’s work. From debut album, Lemons, to Slaughterhouse and Manipulator, Segall has had his stark phases. And even then, he has never been recounted for having a mild stage presence.
The album, Emotional Mugger, does not betray this trend of differentiating tone and weirdness. In fact, in Emotional Mugger, Ty Segall makes an even more drastic turn for the extreme oddity. He takes on two personas with an accompaniment of music that is inherently visceral and cringe-worthy. Drooling, collapsing and manic, first, wearing a baby mask, he is Sloppo, and second, he is Candy Sam.
On the eve of March 11, at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, Sloppo came to town. Under the falling evening of the emerging weekend night, opening local bands Best Creeps and stand-in for the absent band ZHOD, Rit Rats, took the stage; though even their energetic rock n roll was not enough. It was not what the scrambling audience came for.
At last, it was time. Bassist Mikal Cronin and guitarist King Tuff were the first to come onstage. Tuff himself was dressed in what seemed his signature orange jumpsuit for The Muggers. And after what seemed like hours, under dwindling blue light, the band was all present, and Ty Segall (or should I say Sloppo) entered from the back darkness, grinning and slowly pacing in the ghoulish baby mask.
And then it began, the crowd already beginning to writhe to the first sounds of “Squealer,” with Segall wailing out the opening anthem. There was not one body not moving, and not one pair of eyes not transfixed upon the manic sight that was Sloppo, raising his arms, one with the crowd. Then, the title track “Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess” boomed out, and the energy intensified, electricity finally coursing through a now crowd-surfing mosh pit with the emergence of the heavy guitar in the song “Diversion.” Segall, previously standing on the uplifting hands of the crowd, was now back onstage and visibly anything but inert. And although there were brief spouts of slow, psychedelic refrain jam, Segall always came back as an eruption of sound, notably with “Candy Sam,” its chorus resonating throughout the building and ringing in the ears of its patrons. It was nirvana, all of it.
The manic rockstar has done it again, and although it is perhaps not Segall’s magnum opus, it is a rushing descent into eccentric intensity. And that must be admired.
The show would end, and the crowds would leave, remembering Ty Segall’s droning moans into the microphone, “Why did you leave me Mommy? … Mommy, why did you leave me? I guess I should have listened though… ‘Cos we’re all gonna DDDIIIIIEEEEEEE.”
5 / 5 Paws