Ty Segall & The Muggers – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC – February 24, 2015
Ty Segall’s music is eclectic, thought provoking and quite frankly beyond weird at times.
Segall doesn’t seem to be making records with the intent of achieving rock star status, to please any particular fan base nor to reap a huge financial windfall.
I’m fairly certain Segall’s only mission may be to amuse himself and the fact that a segment of music fans around the globe happen to enjoy his musings is probably more or less collateral damage than any actual intended outcome.
Throw a rock in Asheville and you’re likely to hit numerous playing jam rock, bluegrass, Americana, folk, funk and even jazz. Most nights you’d need a boulder and be able to heave it fifty to two-hundred miles to hit anything close to a straight forward rock and roll show in the city. Enter Segall who brought his current touring outfit the Muggers along with him to the Orange Peel this past week.
Having never attended a live performance by Segall I wasn’t too sure as to what to expect as his recorded music is literally a cornucopia of soundscapes with each of his eight solo releases differing from one another, sometimes acutely while at other times drastically.
What I ended up witnessing on the evening was a wave of musical ferocity delivered with a sledgehammer albeit with a touch of farce that allowed the show to be much more easily accessible to Segall newbies such as myself.
Segall eschewed playing any instrument himself instead choosing to serve as more or less the ring leader to his on stage troupe The Muggers most of the night.
Choosing to take the form of his most recent alter ego Sloppo, defined by the menacing and somewhat disturbing rubber baby mask Segall dawns to complete the transformation, the front man was beyond engaging throughout the nearly two-hour performance.
It’s difficult to define the show in any singular context as at times the vibe felt aggressive and cantankerous while also delivering moments of humor and warmth albeit in a very abstract and playfully aberrant kind of way.
The first half of the show featured the band nearly playing Segall’s latest release Emotional Mugger in it’s entirety. Normally when an act chooses to play a large chunk of new music at a live show, let alone nearly a whole album of it, fans often don’t respond too well as they simply aren’t connected to the songs being performed on stage.
This may be the hidden beauty behind Segall as his fans seem to be as bound to him personally as they are to any particular music he may play in a live setting. This condition allowed the initial portion of the concert that focused on recently released new material to be as super charged and as wildly entertaining as the back half of the show.
Throughout the concert Segall engaged with the crowd, sometimes directly through various oddball musings such as when he decided to convey how many eggs he could eat at breakfast.
At other times Segall was able to establish an almost eerie symbiotic amalgamation with the audience by just mindlessly posing and starring blankly out in the abyss of screams and hands desperately trying to reach out to him.
I’m sure many long time fans of Segall’s music were beyond thrilled that the second half of the evening’s performance focused more on the enigmatic singer’s previous releases with a few highlights being “Thank God for the Sinners”, “Spiders” and “Manipulator”.
Ty Segall’s show at the Orange Peel injected Asheville with a long overdue shot of sheer rock force that unfortunately the city’s live music scene doesn’t nearly get enough. I’d be lying though if I didn’t confess that the performance also kind of creeped me out a bit, however, I have a feeling Segall is perfectly okay with this as creeping people out may actually be part of his master plan.