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Ty Segall, The Boilershop, Newcastle

  • Published in Live


The first time you see someone perform live in their own right isn't always the best show you'll ever get from them but, in the case of Ty Segall and his Freedom Band bassist Mikal Cronin, those instances for me will be hard to top. Tonight's show is nevertheless one I've greatly anticipated, not least due to the good reports I've had about The Boilershop as a venue. 

Given the time of year and the number of windows the venue sports on its western wall there's little need for electric light in the body of the hall during the opening performance by local band Them Things or that by travelling support Mike Donovan. Thus the atmosphere's much like that at a festival and the goings on on stage provide just a backing track for a lot of people's conversations and drinking, ourselves included. Them Things therefore made little impression on me although the singer's white jacket stood out & Mike Donovan made plenty of noise for a one man outfit but I didn't feel inspired to then check out his work once back home.

Crewing for themselves meant that Ty Segall & the band wasted no time in getting into position and letting loose, with the minimum of chat (no need to appeal to stage divers this time round, although given UK Health & Safety that was probably never likely anyway). Ty turned 31 today so 'Happy Birthday' was duly sung to him a few times by the crowd & that was obviously appreciated.

Mikal Cronin seemed to be suffering from a cold to some degree & Charlie Mootheart (occupying the drum stool) looked like he'd caught too much sun but all five players kept it tight throughout, at one point even managing to inspire a circle pit at the front of the stage. 'Everyone's A Winner' received no special placing in the setlist, being run through round about three songs in or so. Maybe they're getting bored of it already but it still went down well with the crowd, meeting as it does the maxim of making cover versions your own.

Longer, and maybe closer to the band's heart, was their version of The Groundhogs' 'Cherry Red'. This bears no great difference from the original (or the one delivered by The Monkeywrench for that matter) but the younger members of the audience likely haven't seen such a number played authentically live before so there's a benefit in that.

Fault though was impossible to find with the show, despite 'She' not featuring in the set (I'd been looking forward to that riff), and the location proved itself to be as good as had been reported once the sun set. A performance fully up to scratch and, whilst not topping that of two years ago that has to be viewed in the light of an unmatchable experience I reckon so, as he supposedly plans to dial down on touring for a while after the current run of dates, this was an experience to savour as it could be a while before he's back (a tour which would hopefully feature a Scottish date). He's definitely had better t-shirt designs in the past though as the two tonight were weak. Even just the cliche of the album cover would have been better.  

Further images from the show here


Crocodiles, The Cluny, Newcastle

  • Published in Live

Opening up tonight are Newcastle’s band for hire at the moment Them Things, we caught these guys a couple of weeks ago and again we aren’t blown away by their mediocre attempt at doing something different. Next up though were a band that weren’t on any line-up we’d seen in advance nor were they on any of the posters dotted around the venue with the set times on.

Gay were a real surprise. To say we were not expecting these Danish kids to invade the stage is an understatement, their opener was somewhat ramshackle with lead singer Thor mumbling his lyrics whilst breaking his guitar. There is a slight halt to proceedings as Thor fixes said guitar but they continue, and with some ferocity.

We’re really unsure of what to make of them - are they the best thing we’re ever going to see or are they utter rubbish, the jury remains out on that one.* Thor takes to the crowd for the closing track and perches on the seat right in front of me as he just groans into the microphone, it's quite an unnerving experience.

The lights dimmed as the eagerly anticipated Crocodiles storm the stage, opening with ‘Marquis De Sade’ and it's obvious they’re on top form this evening. Confessing that they’re trying out a heap of new songs, we settle in for what turns out to be a trip through an awesome sonic landscape, and they definitely seem to have found their groove; a hefty dose of reverb and wailing guitar lines underpinning this evening's set.

Brandon croons as the ladies swoon, and Charles shreds his guitar throughout. They provide scarce information about the promised new songs, all of which sound impeccable. We’re filled with excitement at the thought of a new album, though there’s a distinct lack of keyboards this evening and the guitars drive the new tracks. Older tracks do appear however, ‘Teardrop Guitar’ stands above the rest, the guitars ultimately consuming us.

As we’re transfixed on Brandon’s presence despite it being damp and wet Monday evening, to us it could be any day of the week as Crocodiles take us on a journey across a beautiful musical soundscape. As the last riff rings out its almost like an awakening as we fall back to reality, slightly saddened as we exit the venue back to the grim night skies and reflect on the brilliance we’ve just witnessed.

*Note: To clear one other thing up we’ve since investigated support band Gay a little more and on record they sound a lot better than they did live, leaving us to conclude that the jury is still firmly out!

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