Ty Segall and the Muggers Blaze Through Austin (SHOW REVIEW)

Ty Segall has reached a new plane in the realm of performance. His latest album Emotional Mugger (REVIEWis one that slowly grows on the listener. In their Austin stopover Segall and the Muggers (made up of Emmett Kelly, Cory Hanson, Mikal Cronin, Evan Burrows, and Kyle Thomas) sold out Red River staple the Mohawk, bringing out his storied mix of avid supporters. The forming pit groaned for their hero the minute the doors opened, and while the place packed up quickly, a persistent line stayed formed through the first act in Ty’s set.

Charlie Moothart (Ty Segall Band, Fuzz, GøGGS, Moonhearts) and his latest incarnation CFM led off the night to an appeased audience. The heavy handed bass, fuzzy guitar and vocals are a callback to Moothart’s earlier work with Segall and Cronin on Slaughterhouse. There was a flair to their performance keeping the group separate from what could have easily felt like a redundancy in the wave of outstanding performance stemming from the evening. Moothart’s use of throwback garage was providential, released precisely when needed while holding onto their almost unpracticed sound. Entrancing, the performance felt like it ended right after it began, holding onto the favor of the covetous crowd.

There was a feverish quiet once CFM had departed. While the usual din of beers being drank, cigarettes being smoked, and social situations being met continued, the anticipation of Segall and the Muggers to the stage kept the favor of wandering eyes. The smart arrived early to plant themselves above the stage in one of the balconies. The young and the brave made up the majority of the crowd. The sea of X marked underage felt like the first to notice their hero take the stage as the band set up. A welcome revelation found Kyle Thomas as the first to mount his chosen ax for the evening, followed closely by Segall compatriot Mikal Cronin on Bass, and Emmett Kelly on second guitar, Cory Hanson on keys and second bass, and Evan Burrows on drums. Thomas aka King Riff aka King Shred, or better known as King Tuff, took the lead guitar. A spot normally filled by Segall himself, it gave him an opportunity to act as the front man to this motley gang of talent.

Their set kicked off with the stiffening horror of Segall walking onstage with his signature Emotional Mugger look; that baby head could frighten an emotionless poltergeist. Holding onto the persona through the first few songs, when he removed the mask a spotlight remarked on the status he had just made known to the audience. Segall has become THE garage performer. The first leg of their production laid out EM in stride. As mentioned before, the album was a slow burn; at least, it felt like it before this performance. Taking command of the stage, the audacious Segall rumbled through his vocals with a newfound precision along with the customary growl and screech pattern he tends to imbue his music with.

There was a humor in Segall’s persona as he called out “my kids, my beautiful little girls. I’m good to my kids!” keeping a hold of the baby voice and sorrow at the emotional muggers who seemingly invade his soul. After a half-second pause The Muggers kicked in Twins’ ‘Thank God for the Sinners’, heaving up a nostalgia to the Manipulator and Melted tours. At one point Cronin pulled out a heavy sax layering the tumult with a heightened twist. It gave keyboardist Hanson an opportunity to pull out his bass while holding steady on the keys with salient sounds. The set clocked in at a little over 90 minutes, including the obligatory interlude followed by a fervently superb rendition of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’.

It seems that Segall’s choice to slow down his seeming assembly line of work has given him a chance to grow as a whole- the future of rock and roll is safe in the hands of Segall, the Muggers, and the rest of his ever growing army.

Photo by Roger Ho via Transmission Entertainment.

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