Photos by Jason Thrasher
I first stumbled onto Ty Segall in 2010 via two tracks from Melted on the Mondo Boys mixtapes put out by Athens alum and Aquarium Drunkard helmster Justin Gage. Since then, keeping up with Segall and friends’ (Mikal Cronin, Fuzz, Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps) nonstop output of Northern California garage-punk-psych-metal has been like watching rabbits multiply, tricky to quantify and difficult to describe.
But, like skateboarding and the Internet, Segall finally made his way east so we could see for ourselves. At Terminal West in early 2013, Segall—along with Emily Rose Epstein on drums, guitarist Charlie Mootheart and Cronin on bass—shredded through most of Slaughterhouse and Twins to a sweating, stage-diving crowd, and we were sold.
For Segall’s first visit to Athens for a house party last fall with side project Fuzz, Cronin was laid out in a hotel with the flu. Those of us brave enough to slide down a plastic sheet into the radon-filled, low-ceilinged crawl space witnessed Segall and Mootheart slam out a double-drum massacre anyway. It was down and dirty; the real thing.
Segall’s latest release, Manipulator, is his most polished and longest-in-the-making double-album concept piece about a tech-wielding girl named Susie Thumb. Saturday night at the Georgia Theatre, in a raggedy rock opera, a cape-wearing and mustachioed “manager” introduced Segall, Cronin, Epstein and Mootheart as the Manipulator Band.
A few notes into opener “Manipulator,” two-thirds of the floor slammed into a frenzied, beer-y froth. Segall and his band proceeded to play straight through the new album, loudly, but more sedate than his usual. Segall and Cronin veered from Manipulator only once to play a bluegrass riff that progressed into the theme from Deliverance, but the crowd either didn’t seem to get the joke or mind.
During the brief encore, they catapulted into old-school Ty with “Wave Goodbye” (Slaughterhouse) and “Girlfriend” (Melted), and the entire crowd finally went crazy. Segall urged the Theatre’s security staff to allow a few fans on stage, two of whom kissed Segall and Cronin smack on the face, and for a minute we got a glimpse of the old “You Can’t Spell Party Without ‘Ty'” I’d come to see.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.