Night & Day, Manchester, Monday 30 July 2012
Starting with one fine Mancunian band, Milk Maid, this gig was set to be a non-misser from the off. Having changed a couple of band members here and there, Milk Maid now seem settled on a pretty solid set up. Same songs, and they're now on their second album, Mostly No, but singer Martin Cohen's signature, sometimes off-key warbling sits perfectly besides their grungy blues-guitar sound. Backed by some new, heavy drumming, it all sounds pretty great.
Sadly the excitement, visible in the crowd, had to end, albeit momentarily, until Ty Segall was due on-stage. Who isn't actually as old as you'd imagine. Or is that me getting it totally wrong because he's creating a sound that's all old-fashioned and Stooges and MC5-like...? Anyway, the rather fresh-faced San Franciscan pretty much blew everyone away at Night & Day. Having taken a friend who was totally new to his music, her only words were "I don't know how to describe it... Wow."
Absolutely. The slap-dash grungy rock sounds of his recent album, Slaughterhouse, were all over this gig. Tracks from previous releases were included in the set, just all wrapped up in the heinous screeching and unrehearsed vibe which Segall's bands always seem to take, despite the fact that, when you listen, it's all actually very well played. Even the three runs of Sabbath's 'Paranoid' (yes, three) for the encore were played pretty well, considering Geezer Butler is a fairly hard act to follow. I did spot a few dropped notes, though, but after an hour of non-stop playing that's just a bit obsessive sounding, isn't it?
The band propelled their way through every song, displaying ferocious energy, heavy riffs, sweet drumming (from a girl too) and it all came together under that inimitable umbrella of 60s pop-tinged-dirgy-psych thing called Bay Area rock. You found your head moving as it would when listening to The Beatles because you heard similar harmonies, but wedded to a song with a solid bass sound which best fits with Hawkwind.
They're nothing much to watch; if you're after a band who have fancy outfits and fireworks, don't bother. These shows are all about the music, the humour and the sheer unadulterated wildness. Throwing his guitar into the crowd for a play-along, Segall even added audience participation to the mix. And then the mic fell over and the guitar was promptly grabbed back on stage. Safety first.
Excitingly though, Segall is making music that sits half in the ever-growing San Fran garage scene, alongside the lighter Kelley Stoltz and the punkier Thee Oh Sees, but also half in retro scenes which acts like DZ Deathrays are embracing and bringing back. Listening to the albums he puts out is good enough, but experiencing the noise in a live show, well, as was said - wow.