Chicago – Live albums can often be hit or miss. The ones that make the mark transport you to the venue, bringing a concert to life. Ty Segall Band’s Live In San Francisco (Castle Face Records) does just that, but with an extra dose of who gives a f**k and a side of brilliance! The lo-fi rockers bring killer guitars, fantastic drumming, a mix of curdling screams and harmonized voices, and of course, some humor.
Live In San Francisco is the second full-length released by the Ty Segall Band, made up of the infamous Ty Segall himself (guitar and vocals) and his touring band members Mikal Cronin (bass), Charlie Moothart (guitar), and Emily Rose Epstein (drums). It follows 2012’s critically acclaimed Slaughterhouse (In the Red Records), bringing the 60s and 70s to life with their mix of psychedelia, punk, and garage rock. The album was recorded during two nights at San Francisco’s The Rickshaw Stop and comes in at a little over 30 minutes and contains 10 songs; a combination of tunes like “Slaughterhouse” and “Death” from the band’s debut and oldies from Ty’s catalog, including “The Hill” and “Thank God for the Sinners” off Twins.
The album starts off with Ty telling everyone in the audience to say hello. The crowd screams back, “Helloooo!” Then he asks they say goodbye with his signature high-pitched and adorable “bye-bye,” before breaking into “Wave Goodbye.” I thoroughly enjoy when artists include their little convos with fans on live albums. It makes you feel as if you’re actually there, soaking up the energy of the crowd, and when you close your eyes, it’s as if you see the Ty Segall Band thrashing around stage, getting crazy, sweat dripping all over, under a rainbow of lights.
Live In San Francisco includes one of the strongest tracks off Slaughterhouse: “I Bought My Eyes.” Cronin and Segall harmonize, “I was a rich man. I was a poor man,” before Moothart and Epstein loudly crash in, tearing things up. Of course Segall adds to the shred fest, proving what many have long known: he is a wonderful guitarist and brilliant performer.
“Feel” will have you feeling it for over five minutes! The band makes a jam out of this tune off Ty’s seventh solo album, Manipulator. It’s sounds as if in a rage of anger, Ty is singing through clenched teeth. The emotion bleeds through in the guitars and drums. There’s plenty of feedback, howls, and screams. “Feel, feel, feeeeeeeel!” Yeah, you’ll feel it pulsing through your speakers, making your heart skip a beat! “Feel” also ends with Ty’s friend Judy telling a joke: “Why can’t you play poker in Africa?”
Answer: Well, you’ll just have to take a listen to Live In San Francisco to find that out!
The album includes the little oldie “Skin,” which was re-released on Horn the Unicorn in 2009. Any Ty Segall diehard will dig this album for this short but sweet goodie alone. Before you know it, the album is over, ending with the groovy “(Tell Me) What’s Inside Your Heart.” While the album may be a bit short, this song pulls in plenty of guitar riffs over a splendid four minutes and 14 seconds. Just when you think the song is nearing its end, as it slows down and Ty gently sings, “Tell me what’s inside your heart / Let me tear that love apart,” it revs back up again, with Epstein pounding on her drums and Segall wailing on guitar.
The only thing that would make Live In San Francisco better was if it was a film, but with that said, isn’t it nice sometimes to close your eyes and let your imagination run wild? Go get yourself a copy, and let the Ty Segall Band make you “disappear from this land.”
The Ty Segall Band’s Live In San Francisco is available for purchase on iTunes.
Photo Of Ty Segall By Anabel Mahran
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.