Ty Segall – Music Hall of Williamsburg – August 29, 2013
It’s been a quieter-than-usual period for the ever-prolific Ty Segall, in part due to some personal problems that have been the impetus behind his latest release, the more hushed and intimate Sleeper. His set list last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg focused mostly on the new album, filling out the first half of his set with almost every song from it in chronological order. Given his insane musical output, it’s interesting to note what remains the same in his sound as he takes a slight stylistic shift, what falls in the middle of that Venn diagram comparing his past work to his present. The impassioned pleas of his singing voice, the all-too-catchy guitar hooks and that seemingly God-given ability to pump out perfect pop melodies are all still there.
So what’s changed? Well, in the very least, last night, electric guitars were replaced with acoustic ones. The band opted for sitting down, and the drum kit was stripped down to a three-piece set, if used at all. And if you listened carefully, you might notice that Segall’s lyrics were a little more personal and pulled from a much deeper part of that emotional psyche reservoir that’s every great musician’s reliable muse. Those feelings were probably most palpable during the last refrains of “She Don’t Care,” a song likely drawn from a recently fractured relationship with his mother and the death of his adoptive father.
Segall’s second half of the set included a short list of songs that are fast becoming his list of go-to hits, including “Caesar,” “You’re the Doctor” and “Girlfriend.” “You’re the Doctor” still included its piercing guitar solo, which on the acoustic guitar sounded particularly impressive, showcasing Segall’s remarkable command over the instrument, be it electric or acoustic. There were several times in the show that, were you too close your eyes, you’d have little idea that this was an acoustic set. So much loud fury and passion was being thrown out that the audience was moshing and crowd surfing for the majority of the second half of the show, not an easy thing to inspire via acoustic guitars. Perhaps some day Ty Segall will put out a mediocre album, but with each new release, I doubt it more and more. We’ll have to see in a few months when his next one comes out (seriously, another one is due in October). While it’s certainly possible, it’s seemingly improbable. —Dan Rickershauser
Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com