Ty Segall, accompanied by his band The Muggers (King Tuff, Mikal Cronin and members from Wand and The Cairo Gang) opened his first night in New York at Webster Hall last Saturday, touring off his January release “Emotional Mugger.”
As the show began, the PA at the sold-out venue erupted with the pained sounds of a baby crying. The shrieks continued as King Tuff walked out dressed head to toe in orange, his facing glowing under the lights reflecting off the neon orange paint. Corey Hanson followed as “the Smurf” with his face painted bright blue. The crying did not stop until the glam-god, garage rock mastermind Ty Segall took his place front and center. He was dressed in a blue jumpsuit and only his mouth was visible underneath the huge, bald baby head that he would go on to sport on and off throughout the show. Even before the music started, Segall had already set the scene, and it was a creepy one at that. The show was a twisted ride that explored Segall’s psyche and the themes of candy and depraved babies.
From the beginning, the floor in Webster’s Grand Ballroom was shaking, bouncing up and down from the crowd’s constant energy and the bodies swirling and flailing in the mosh pit. The set showcased almost the entirety of the new album, playing the songs in order followed by various hits and gems from Segall’s past records.
“Big Baby Man (I Want A Mommy)” was one of the more notable performances of the night. Here Segall confronted the mommy issues of his past by jumping around in his baby mask, swinging a red rope in the air, sticking his fingers in his mouth and screaming gutturally “I’m a baby/Big man.” When the song ended, dozens of diapers fell from the balcony onto the crowd. They were ripped apart and many fans wore them on their heads even after the show had ended. Elsewhere in the set, he started off the song “Breakfast Eggs” by telling the crowd that he was hungry for some eggs — any kind would do — and during “California Hills” he controlled the music and its stop-start erratic pace with a flick of his wrist.
Additionally, the band took advantage of the live set by extending some songs and highlighting the instrumentals. For example, “Squealer Two” started off with a long, groovy interlude jam, and “Feel” moved away from its usual fast pace to a more offbeat, experimental one accompanied by Segall’s impressive falsetto.
The encore, which included “Finger,” “The Feels” and a bluesy, jazzy version of “The Singer” with King Tuff on the saxophone, ended the show on a slower, more ballad-filled note, but still the energy never left the crowd.
Overall, the show was tight, spooky and the music lagged only occasionally. This show and the new album elevated The Muggers, Segall’s side project, to one of his best, showing a new side to Ty Segall’s music and his ensuring transition into the strange.
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