Tie-Dyed Punk at The Bowery Ballroom

June 21st, 2013

Mikal Cronin – The Bowery Ballroom – June 20, 2013

If you’ve ever listened to the Ty Segall Band then you’ve also heard Mikal Cronin. For years as their bassist, he’s been the impetus for the poppier side of that group, balancing out Ty Segall’s Lennon as the band’s McCartney. But with the recent release of his second full-length, the much-acclaimed MCII, Cronin’s now making a name for himself, selling out The Bowery Ballroom last night with one of the most buzzed-about shows of the week.

Cronin is a genius at taking a hook and injecting it with a shot of rock and roll steroids, but not before building up some anticipation. He proved this within his very first song of the set, “Is It Alright,” starting off things with a falsetto coo before letting a smack of the snare drum blast the song out into the hard-rock stratosphere. He takes two worlds usually foreign to each other and marries them. It’s punk rock with a sunny California twist—perfect pop songs drowned in distorted guitar fuzz, earworm melodies with more and more energy thrown behind them until they almost reach their breaking point.

Even his appearance represented these usually contrarian worlds, wearing a tie-dyed shirt as he played what’s essential punk music. While Cronin rocked out hard enough to break three strings off his 12-string, the real fire-starting guitar solos came from Chad Ubovich, throwing an especially impressive one at the end of “Am I Wrong” and a few times in other songs when the music called for someone to bring the pedal an inch closer to the metal. Without a usable guitar to finish the show,  Cronin borrowed one from Shannon and the Clams guitarist Cody Blanchard to play the encore. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici |