The Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska is a venue that often a showcases upcoming local talents and artists making waves in the indie community. The venue is small and personal, but doesn’t often reach capacity unless an artist of relevance to the current flavor of indie rock comes through town. For instance, two years ago J Mascis made a stop at the Waiting Room for his tour. Despite how widely known and appreciated his work was back in its day, only about 15 showed up to the event.
I could barely walk inside the Waiting Room to see Ty Segall and the Muggers. By the time the opening act set up, the entire venue is completely full; there are at least 250 people at the show, and for good reason. As if Ty Segall wasn’t enough to satisfy the crowd, the Muggers are comprised of many big names in the noise rock scene including Mikal Cronin and King Tuff. They come out without Segall, dressed in tuxedos and suits with black aviators, an obvious joke about how garage rockers usually dress. Across the stage there are about three or four Rickenbackers, multiple Korg synths, and one lone saxophone sitting in the back. The Muggers start playing, and Ty Segall comes out with a baby mask on, a tribute to his latest album. As the show progresses, one thing that shocks many audience members is how tight the band sound for being a lo-fi garage rock band. The chemistry between the bandmates is palpable, and it’s easy to see that they love playing together.
Segall isn’t afraid to interact with the audience in the slightest. He stops the show abruptly to talk about his favourite breakfast foods and why the audience should avoid certain kinds. At certain points he puts his mask back on to address the crowd in a squealing, piercing voice, whining ‘I can’t find my mommy’, which causes many of the older audience members to scrunch up and cover their faces in embarrassment. In the midst of many of the songs he grabs a random audience member’s head and proceeds to yell lyrics into their face, and at one point in the show Segall calls out an obviously blacked out audience member saying that ‘[he] must enjoy drinking the most’ in a very sarcastic tone of voice. Aside from the great performance, Ty Segall and the Muggers didn’t play much music from their latest record – 2015’s Emotional Mugger – leaving a few audience members disappointed that ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Caesar’ didn’t make the cut. Most expect them to close with ‘Girlfriend’, but instead Mikal Cronin starts playing the bassline to ‘Sabotage’ by the Beastie Boys. Everyone is losing their minds. The whole room turns into a mosh pit, and Segall is no longer on stage, but part of the crowd. This is by far the loudest and most interesting song played all night. Segall proves that he’s got the chops to keep up with the intensity of the original, while the bandmates emulate the sound of the original with a heavier, fuzzier feel. It almost seems as if Ty Segall and the Muggers wrote the song themselves.
Image by Dresdof (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons