Concert Review: Ty Segall – Blind Pig – Ann Arbor – 2/7/13
It’s been a while since I stepped foot in Ann Arbor’s Blind Pig. Walking up I was remembering some of the great shows I’ve seen there – mostly in the early 90s – Soundgarden, Nirvana, Social Distortion, and Afghan Whigs, to name just a few. Those were the days! People went to shows! Touring bands stopped in Detroit or Ann Arbor between Toronto and Chicago! It all came back to me as I entered the sold out Blind Pig – wall to wall with hipster college kids drinking beer, buying T-shirts and crowd surfing.
New York City’s K-Holes took the stage and established a noisy, heavy-groove filled set that reminded me of Ann Arbor’s early-90s Laughing Hyenas at times and Sonic Youth at others. The singer, sporting a Nancy Spungen look, and the guitarist – who looked, but played nothing like Lindsey Buckingham – led the band while the bassist and saxophonist laid a reverb-drenched backdrop. The K-Holes were working hard and were very well received. Not totally my thing, but fans of mid-80s and early 90s Touch & Go and Amphetamine Reptile stuff would probably dig it.
After a short break Ty Segall came out and quickly re-set the noise meter with another wall of sound. Ty and his band had the tightness of a group that has been on tour for a while – clicking on every level, communicating without trying, and generally tearing it up and making it look easy. They were riff-heavy too, but unlike the K-Holes Ty’s songs have hooks embedded into those riffs and that’s what kept me engaged. Think early Mudhoney on a Black Sabbath binge all mashed-up with Donovan (maybe?). Beside the hooks, Ty’s guitar playing was the highlight. His leads were somewhere between Greg Ginn and Tony Iommi, with a fuzzy tone that cut through the wall just right. Just retro enough to make you smile, but a great modern crossover feel too.
After the show it was head-first into the great blizzard of 2013. My ears were ringing as I crawled home doing 30mph on the freeway. But it felt good knowing that the Blind Pig and the bands who stop there are still killing it!