Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ty Segall & the Muggers at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Ty Segall sang and played guitar part-time in several underground bands in Orange County and the San Francisco Bay Area of California before beginning a solo career in 2008. Since then, he has recorded eight solo albums, plus at least eight albums with a half dozen bands he fronts. Presently, Segall is leading a new project, Ty Segall & the Muggers, consisting of Segall with Kyle "King Tuff" Thomas (guitar), Emmett Kelly (guitar), long-time colleague Mikal Cronin (bass, sax), and Wand's Cory Hanson (keyboards, guitar) and Evan Burrows (drums). During live performances with this band, Segall adopts the name of Sloppo while wearing a baby mask. Ty Segall & the Muggers' debut Emotional Mugger album was released on January 22, 2016.

At Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom tonight, Ty Segall & the Muggers played almost the entirety of its debut album, complete with Segall frequently donning the oversized baby head while he sang. For those able to listen between the lines, Segall seemed to be politicking a social commentary, something about populations getting hooked on instant gratification. The baby head he embodied appeared to be symbolic of urgent demand. While the audience was struggling to sort out the story line, the Muggers delivered Segall's trademark raucous, loose, abrasive and sometimes odd music, almost without taking a breath between songs. Barely playing guitar with this band, Segall was all over the stage, contorting to the band's off-kilter and thunderous music. Once the new album was performed, Segall and company raided his catalogue for a more familiar series of songs that began with "Thank God for Sinners" and ended with an extended version of "The Singer." With inspirations ranging from lo-fi garage rock to indie psychedelic rock and raging alt rock, the attraction sometimes seemed to be how bizarre and experimental Segall and his loud and rocking music could get. In that regard, Segall never fails to succeed.

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