Ty Segall at the hi-dive, 2/12/13
Ty Segall and his band must have been feeling nostalgic as they performed the final set of what looks like a monster tour. Over the past three months, they've been going nonstop between enviable European destinations to the West and East coasts and now back westward toward the mountains. If these guys were road weary, they sure as hell didn't show it at all last night at the hi-dive.
Denver act Dirty Few got things going and destroyed just about everything in its path. These dudes can shred with the best of them. The spirit of Dick Dale was felt throughout the band's early-evening set, with the trio doing its bratty, jokey best to get the crowd to do anything other than standing slackjawed before them. The onstage banter, "Hey, sound dude, can you get people to come up here and start moving?" was classic, as was the repeated call-and-response gimmick, "Can I get a 'goddamn!?'"
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Memphis band Ex-Cult came next, turning the vibe down to a much darker tone. Shit got nihilistic-sounding real quick once these guys got onstage, sounding nothing like the blues that their town's famous for. Lead Cult member Chris Shaw was about as intense as frontmen get, showing no love (but plenty of energy) during the band's blistering thirty-ish minutes set.
Ty Segall and his mates had something to prove by then. Final night of their multi-continent tour be damned; they brought it and then some with a flawless set that included highlights from 2012's breakthrough albums Slaughterhouse and Twins. The latter's opening track, "Thank God for Sinners", was an early entry in the set. Dressed in all black (down to his cowboy boots), Segall fit neither the party boy persona of Dirty Few, nor the deep-fried Buzzcocks vibe of Ex-Cult. He and his band lacked any kind of gimmick or discernible personae, actually. They were just three guys and a girl who got up and did their job. Well. Very well.
The band kept mostly to newer material. The best song on Slaughterhouse, "I Bought My Eyes," sounded like it should have live: true to the original recording, but inspired and expansive in the right places. When it came time in the song to noodle, Segall gave it his best, appearing to molest his guitar in a fuzzy wash of soloing. It's hard to imagine how he could have done the song any more justice -- nearly losing his shit, but holding back just short of total self-indulgence.
While critics have been writing glowing reviews about Segall ad nauseum over the past couple years, it was good to see plain ol' people losing their minds at this show. Other standouts included "Girlfriend" and "Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart," both tracks that aligned Segall and his band with the stoner contingent of punk acts (see: Comets on Fire). But that's the thing about Segall's music: Its versatility allows him to skirt the boundaries between droney grooves and quick, ADHD-type numbers. A song like "Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart," with its deep pockets, hardly sounded out of place next to the band's night-second songs.
The set ended with one of the few instances of stage banter. "This is our last song," Segall said. "This is the last time we'll ever play this." Seconds later came the all-too-familiar opening chords of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," which is about as fitting an end to a tour as anyone could hope for.
Personal Bias: Slaughterhouse was one of my top picks for 2012. Segall is gonna owe me money for a hearing aid one day for it.
Random Note: I helped the EMTs find a guy in the crowd who was passed out. Go me!
By the Way: The show appeared to be sold out.
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