Gracing the shores of Australia for the second time and Perth for the first, garage tycoon Ty Segall gave audiences a generous dose of his surf-punk on Thursday night. He squinted through a sweaty fringe, joking with the crowd that he couldn’t see us and that he got to meet some of his Perth relatives for the first time. All of this came before he unleashed a series of whirlwind two-minute takes on his weighty body of work.
The room was divided between sweaty hipsters and older bearded blokes rocking on their heels. While there was a relative tameness to the gig, there was definitely an acute appreciation for the three like-minded acts that took the stage that night.
Support act HAMJAM looked like a pub band while they revelled in the early, albeit strong crowd they had pulled. Their psychedelic self-titled EP swings to a sweet-spot between Mac Demarco and Tame Impala. On the night they adopted a more raw edge than usual, presumably to fit the bill of supporting Segall – which didn’t exactly suit their sound.
Doctopus were up next, taking to the stage with a drunken swagger and some hard-hitting jamming. Collectively, they had a hair length to rival almost any rock band out there. Frontman Stephen Bellair was told there were nine minutes left in the set, to which he replied “Fuck. That’s like 10 songs”, which kind of summed up their set: each riff would only play out a few times before being brought to a blaring, dissonant close.
With eight solo records to his name as well as feats with psych legends White Fence and Fuzz (who he still leads), Segall had an extensive catalogue to draw upon. However, he pulled extensively from his 2014 release Manipulator – his most recent full LP, which displayed quite a shift in his sound. Considering he is known to stick by ‘the first take is the best take’ approach, the polished and refined redirection on this album has been met with mixed reactions from fans. But on the night, Segall delivered a happy-go-lucky kind of set, much to the delight of the crowd searching for that authentic garage vibe. He fed off fellow guitarist and the star performer on the night, Charlie Moothart, who didn’t need a prompt to shred a face-melting solo in almost every song; leading to a heavy, raw sound. For the first half of the set, the dual heavy guitar section provided from Moothart and Segall drowned Segall’s vocals, but in the second half of the set these levels were adjusted. The roof only really lifted for tracks like ‘I Bought My Eyes’, which were met with the audience’s delight. There were precious few acoustic moments in the set, but it was welcomed as a refreshing change of pace.
It was the encore where the set really hit top gear. The show was stolen by a stage invader named Lachie, who Ty adopted into the band for the back half of his set. Ty organised a crowd-surf for Lachie, which took him to the back of the room and back to the stage. He walked away from the mic to let him sing a chorus, but Lachie was drunkenly preoccupied with snapping the crowd on his iPhone.
Which I think is a pretty fair call.