LIVE: Ty Segall & The Muggers – The Ritz, Manchester

Ty Segall’s live outfit seems to shape-shift at a rate not even we can keep up with, but that really just makes for a night out guaranteed to spring a few surprises.

After coming back with yet another 70s-rock inspired garage homage in the shape of January’s Emotional Mugger, Segall hit the road with a new band, featuring members of previous Track of the Day winners, Wand, among others.

It’s a big venue for this Californian cult hero (rumour is The Ritz is relatively cheap to book, but making the step up too soon can lead to a cavernous and flat atmosphere). The balcony that lines the upper echelons is completely shut, indicating we are indeed some way off capacity.

But that really doesn’t matter one bit once the band launch into what turns out to be an enthralling set. Some reviews of Emotional Mugger were harsh, giving the impression it passed the writers by, but when it’s brought to the live stage and sprinkled over a glut of Segall’s signature rabble-rousers, there can be no complaints whatsoever.

The costumes – although a little daft – provide plenty of intrigue as well. There’s a navy boiler suit on Ty, and then two get ups that look like a Guantanamo uniform and a safari outfit from the guitarists who stand either side of him.

That’s another interesting aspect of the evening. Until he moves to the side of the stage during a blistering encore, Segall doesn’t play guitar at all, instead taking on the guise of the visceral rock ‘n’ roll frontman, bounding across the stage throughout.

There’s an early quip at the photographers down the front, branding them the jammy bastards who get the best spot free of charge, and a whimsical dig at the e-narcissism of modern culture as Segall screams “let’s all get a selfie” and “Instagram this!” with sarcastic glee in between tunes.

At times, the newer material sounds slightly samey, but that matters not to the frenzied pit down the front who are having it every inch of the way. The night ends in perfectly raucous fashion with an old skool stomper in the shape of ‘Finger’. It’s been an exhilarating ride and, chances are, the next phase of this encapsulating career will slap us in the face within what seems like no time at all.

Patrick Davies

 

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