Outside Lands 2011: Ty Segall
In a setting like Outside Lands, San Francisco bands have a lot to prove. It's counter-intuitive, but the hordes of attendees are here to see the big names and drink their weights in beer in between the acts they've read and heard about the most. That's why every local act here is ecstatic when people show up, even if they're used to their loyal followers knowing the words to every song at every show. Ty Segall was no exception. He and his three bandmates seemed in awe of the masses before them on the packed fields around the Panhandle stage (I think he would've been better on a much bigger stage), and played as wildly as they would've on a sweaty Thursday night at the recently-dead Eagle Tavern.
It's that work ethic of laying down unhinged show after unhinged show of scuzzy garage punk that endears you to both the kids and the adults. You get rewarded with crazy moshpits and people looking like they're in 7th heaven while they're crowd-surfing, and even the ability to get the audience to do almost whatever you want. Segall told everyone to scream, and they did. "It's pretty crazy you can just make people do stuff from up here," he said into the mic. Then he jokingly instructed everyone in attendance to form a giant circle pit. It would've happened if he hadn't immediately declared "Don't do that!!"
Four albums in, Segall is kind of like a punk version of Buddy Holly. And the tightness and swagger of his band isn't hurting a thing. The ironclad song structures of songs like the scorching "Standing At The Station" combined with his yelps and wails are the kind of thing that makes this guy an instantly classic San Francisco act for music enthusiasts. Bands like this make me proud to be from the Bay Area.
Photos by Grady Brannan, video by Jason Jurgens