Ty Segall & Idle Times at the Comet Tavern, Seattle | 28 June 2010
Prior to Melted I was on the fence about Ty Segall. After seeing him at the Sunset Tavern a few years back opening for Thee Oh Sees and Intelligence, I was kind of amazed how he played guitar, drums and sang all at once, but I thought the songwriting on his first two albums was monochromatic and sonically they seemed a little flat. It was all three chord jams that pegged the VU meter in the red. Listening to his self-titled debut or Lemons all the way through could be monotonous and a little bit mind numbing. Somewhere along the way Segall eschewed the garage for some acid. Last year’s Reverse Shark Attack record he did with Mikal Cronin and the single on Trouble in Mind (that included a cover Echo and the Bunnymen‘s Do It Clean) hinted at a move toward something a little different. His third album Melted which came out earlier this month on Goner meets those heightened expectations and is leaps and bounds ahead of than anything he’s done to date. It’s got this rich garage-y psychedelic sound, and sees Segall hitting a sweet patch with regards to his songwriting. Melted boasts songs so good they could make you start believing all of the wunderkind accolades this guy was getting early on are valid.
I’m not sure if the packed house at the Comet cared whether or not Segall was branching out as a songwriter or not. They mainly cared about getting their PBR’s and rocking out. The bar seemed a little overwhelmed for the thirsty mass of Ty Segall fans on a Monday night, but Segall was more than obliged to provide the jams for the rocking out part. The set was sprinkled with a couple new songs, some older ones, but mostly concentrated on the new album. He set the bar high early on with the song Imaginary Person. While good on record, this song really shined displaying its huge unabashed pop hooks. Segall looked all California, with his sun bleached Surfer Joe locks and his laid back, rocker attitude. He sweetly dedicated songs to his muses, his home state California and the girl at the merch table, but forcefully delivered the garage jams. The set ended with Caesar, the song from Melted that features piano and Thee Oh Sees’s John Dwyer of going nutty on a flute. There was no piano or flute at the Comet just a killer song with a huge chorus and a room full of sweaty Ty Segall fans wanting more.
Seattle’s own Idle Times opened as a three piece and sported a new drummer. Leo Gephardt who is usually in the band only stepped out of the crowd and played guitar for one song, leaving Brian Standeford to handle all the guitar and vocals the rest of the time. This downsizing didn’t seem to alter Idle Times’ ability to rock out. In fact, I think every time I see Idle Times I’m more impressed by them than the last. To me, their songs evoke Led Zepplin and Bad Company without being too obvious. Their first full length is due soon from Hozac and is something you should keep your eye out for.