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Ty Segall Band | Live In San Francisco | Album Review

Opening this, the fifth installment in Castle Face Records’ Live In San Francisco series, is the pleasant greeting from one of contemporary rock’s greatest figures, Ty Segall. Not what you might expect from a man who lives in the realms of distortion, but then this just adds to the cult status that surrounds this Californian and his music. A crashing number, Wave Goodbye, starts the 10-track release off, instantly laying out the familiarly over-distorted guitars and thrashing energy that this man and his esteemed friends bring to their shows.

This group, officially recognised as the Ty Segall Band, is comprised of some of the most prominent figures of the garage rock revival that’s taking place right now, with Emily Rose Epstein providing the drums, Charles Moothart on guitar and Mikal Cronin making a contribution on the bass; it is the closest this genre will ever get to having a supergroup, I suspect.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with the stylings of Mr Segall, be it his independent work or his work in the various bands of which he’s a member, will know what to expect. Those who don’t, brace yourselves. This album is a 40-50 minute trip of sheer energy expressed through the most distorted guitars (see Slaughterhouse), a primitive but perfect reflection on what live music is all about. Compared to previous Ty Segall live releases, the quality of sound here is a vast improvement and in spite of the fuzziness of his music you can still appreciate what you’re actually hearing.

One of my personal highlights was I Bought My Eyes, from the 2012 record Slaughterhouse – an energetic, frantic foray filled with all that makes Ty Segall’s particular brand of garage rock so special. An explosive track that leads into the noticeably more suave sounding Feel, a track that offers Ty a platform to really showcase the musical intelligence he possesses instead of necessarily just thrashing for the fun of it – a new track from last year’s album and his latest, Manipulator, this is one I would highly recommend.

Released at the end of January, with this record is now only available in CD format from Castle Face Records’ site, this live album is an apt celebration of why people enjoy Ty Segall and his band so much – these four musicians have combined to produce a live performance which captures them at the top of their game. I suspect you could ask anyone who was there at The Rickshaw Stop about the show and their response would be nothing but positive with great praise being heaped on the energy of the band. Having had the pleasure of seeing Mikal Cronin and Emily Rose Epstein play at Green Man 2013, I can personally speak to the quality of their game.

Closing out the album is What’s Inside Your Heart, a fuzz-filled track that initially sounds like it’s headed in the same direction as Hendrix’s now infamous Star Spangled Banner before it jumps into something a bit more expected for Ty Segall (yep, that’s right). Overall this record is probably best described as fun – it’s not going to set the world alight, but it certainly gets you feeling something. It is an embodiment of Ty Segall and his sometimes nightmarish sounds, it is live music as it was intended.