Photos By: Summer Luu
By: Amanda Martinek
Leather jackets and American Spirit cigarettes lined the quiet Solana Beach street near the Belly Up Tavern in full anticipation. Things were about to get loud. Garage rock’s prodigal son Ty Segall kicked off his tour in San Diego Wednesday in support of his new album Emotional Mugger with a new supergroup, a new face mask and a new array of issues.
Local band Wild Wild Wets played first and set the mood with their psychedelic goth rock and a dimly lit stage, illuminated with trippy colorful projections. CMF played next, saying a quick thanks as bookends to their set, and with long, billowing hair and uniform pointy black sneakers, they played down and dirty pure and heavy, rock and roll. Although the show wasn’t sold out, the Belly Up was densely filled with the population of the rock and roll card-carrying members of San Diego, all ready to have their faces melted.
The Muggers took stage, a supergroup featuring garage rock veterans King Tuff, Mikal Cronin, Cory Hanson and Evan Burrows of the band Wand and Emmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang. Each sported silly costumes like white overalls, an orange jumpsuit or blue-tinted shades. But Ty Segall won the costume contest, wearing a Canadian tuxedo lined in studs, Barbie head bolo tie and the creepiest plastic baby head mask you’ve ever seen.
What happened next felt more like performance art than a rock and roll show. Complete with spit dripping from Ty’s mouth, full tongue hand licks, and staring down single crowd members for what felt like minutes at a time, it was uncomfortable, intense, yet completely mesmerizing. Character driven monologues bridged new songs off Emotional Mugger together, starting at birth, a toddler wanting candy, a confused kid who’s stepdad keeps eating his cereal, a little brother that just came home from college, and transitioned to being a dad, and ended with dying.
It was an emotional trip: emotionally exciting and emotionally exhausting, trying to piece it all together. Like a giant performance group therapy session, except nobody ever quite got their issues resolved. But I guess that was the point. That was part of the emotional mugging.
And to be honest, the crowd didn’t even seem phased. They still moshed and surfed and danced along to the new songs and relished in the blank stares and sprayed saliva. It was rock and roll; loud, raw, mystifying, and beautiful.
Towards the end and during the encore, Ty finally appeased the crowd and played a few tracks off last year’s Maniuplator including “Maniupulator”, “Feel” and one old song “Finger” off 2010’s Melted. He ended the night with the slow, high-pitched beautiful track “The Singer” and we left. Confused, drained, awe-inspired and covered in human body fluids. Wouldn’t want it any other way.