Ty Segall’s Twofer Album Concerts Are a Reminder of His Low-Key Rock Dominance


In this era of full-album tours, it's a pretty smart move to pair up a complete performance of a beloved fan-favorite LP with a start-to-finish run-through of your latest: aside from attracting the people already hip to your new music, you bring in older fans who might've stopped keeping up with every new release over the years and expose them to what you're doing now. And for someone as relentlessly prolific as Ty Segall, there were probably a few of those people in attendance at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday (Oct. 1) when Segall and his Freedom Band ripped through new album First Taste as well as 2010's garage-psych classic Melted.

After all, this is a guy who, in the course of 10 years, has released enough albums (whether solo, collaborative or in bands) that he could practically do a full-length album tour for weeks without repeating the same LP. And even in the streaming era, that's tough to keep up with.

But anyone who showed up primarily to hear Melted (one of four older albums he's doing on this run, in addition to Goodbye Bread, Emotional Mugger and Manipulator) who wasn't savvy to First Taste left knowing that despite his breakneck pace, Segall's ability to deliver deceptively well-crafted lo-fi gems hasn't faltered. From the psych-folk oddity "I Sing Them" to the double drum attack of "The Fall" to the cacophonous sax blasts played over a propulsive groove on "Self Esteem," the off-kilter magic of First Taste captivated, especially with the Freedom Band (which includes longtime collaborator Mikal Cronin on bass) giving the songs an extra burst of adrenaline.

Segall, for his part, continues to astonish as a live force, whether seated behind the drums, sending out scorching guitar licks, singing in his snarly, winking tone or subtly directing the Freedom Band (you could see him sizing up the crowd's response and giving the other players low-key signals throughout the show).

When Segall switched over to the inescapably hypnotic sludge metal of Melted opener "Finger," the front of the audience started moshing and crowdsurfing, transporting longtime fans back to 2010 when Segall brought Melted to the cramped, sweaty but always energetic crowd at Brooklyn's sadly defunct Death by Audio. And like that DIY venue, the people bopping, circling and shoving were a mix of hipster and headbanger, united by a desire to cut loose and thrash around.

From the snotty, girl group-indebted "Girlfriend" to the fuzzy curio "Mike D's Coke" (complete with woozy effects that brought to mind the high-pitched garble of parents speaking in Charlie Brown) to the sunbaked shuffle of album closer "Alone," Melted has lost none of its blistering, shambolic charm over the years — and from the audience's reaction, people have hardly tired of it. Or Segall, for that matter. When he left the stage following a ferocious encore, the crowd was still ravenous for more – which will come tonight, actually, when he returns to Brooklyn Steel for another gig.

With Ty's twofer full-album concerts, he's reminding people not only of his substantial, idiosyncratic catalog, but of the fact that when it comes to live rock in 2019, nobody does melodic garage distortion better than Ty Segall. He just might go down in rock history as not merely the most prolific, but the most consistent, rock quantity of the 2010s, both on wax and on stage.