Ty Segall and White Fence at the 7th St. Entry, 5/08/12

Ty Segall and White Fence
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
May 8, 2012

The fans who packed into the sold-out 7th St. Entry for Ty Segall and White Fence on Tuesday night clearly had plenty of aggression to work out, as they turned the main floor into a roiling, occasionally violent, mosh pit throughout both sets.

Perhaps it was a release of years of frustration over Segall neglecting to play Minneapolis up to this point, combined with truly incendiary performances by both bands, but the Entry was as wild as it ever gets, which both added to the untamed musical spectacle happening on stage while also detracting a bit from the sociable spirit of the songs themselves.

White Fence took a while to sound check, which only seemed to raise the anticipation level inside the club. Frontman Tim Presley (of Darker My Love and the Strange Boys fame) joked with the crowd a bit as they got their issues sorted, "I'll get my intro speech out of the way while we're sound checking. We're really happy to be here, we almost hit a deer while driving here at 4 a.m." But as soon as the music eventually kicked in, the set was a blur of guitars, reverb, and mayhem, as the crowd responded vigorously to the punkish, psych-rock sounds the quartet were generating.

The set drew on material from Family Perfume, Vol. 1 and the soon-to-be-released Vol. 2, with the songs taking on a much more riotous edge in a live setting, which only caused the crowd to get more aggressive. So much so that the guitarist had to admonish some over-exuberant members of the audience, "Thanks for dancing guys, but if you're going to dance, don't dance like an asshole." And while that scolding helped settle things down just a bit, as the 45-minute set wore on, things got agitated once again. But the loud, raucous performance was the real attraction, as Presley seemed to sing his lyrics quickly in order to get to one more cracking guitar solo after another.

It was a breathless, explosive set, with one rapid-fire track blending quickly into the next. And Presley is so prolific and inventive that it was unclear whether some of the songs were brand new, or just extremely reworked versions of his older songs. But what was being played wasn't nearly as important as how it was being delivered, as the group tore through their audacious set with a reckless abandon, whipping the crowd up into an absolute frenzy in the process.

Everyone needed to catch their breath a bit before Ty Segall's first ever Minneapolis performance, but when Presley came out to join the band (which featured longtime Segall collaborator Mikal Cronin on bass) at the start for a couple tracks from the duo's just released new record, Hair, things got out of control in a real hurry.

The set kicked off with a tumultuous, amped-up version of "Time," which really caught fire during the churning coda, and a blistering run through of "Scissor People" that really set the place off. Sadly, Presley was off after that (along with White Fence's drummer Nick Murray, who was also sitting in), replaced by Charlie Moothart on guitar and Emily Rose Epstein on drums.

And since this was Segall's debut Minneapolis gig, he had a lot of missed time to make up for during the hour-long set, so he dug deep into his sprawling back catalog, as well as playing a few new songs from his highly anticipated forthcoming record due out later this year. But Segall had to stop the set a few different times to settle the crowd down, telling them, "No fighting, stop fighting. For this song, people should pogo anyway, and not mosh." And while that did seem to restore order a bit, dynamic versions of "The Drag," "You Make The Sun Fry," and "My Sunshine" stirring the crowd up once again, so much so that one overzealous concertgoer had to be led outside to seek medical treatment. It was an intense set (and crowd), no question.

The main set closed with a fiery cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," which again got the audience churning and saw the band off strongly. Segall sheepishly admitted to skipping Minneapolis on his travels at the start of the encore, saying "We've never been here before, so we'll play a couple more songs." And the cover song trend continued, with a rollicking version of Spinal Tap's "Gimme Some Money," and the Beatles classic, "I Saw Her Standing There" spiritedly kicking off the encore, before the lively performance closed with a volatile version of "I Am With You." Hopefully, some members of the audience worked out all of their frustrations at this show, so that by the time Segall comes back to Minneapolis, the music will be the only thing to focus on and we can all just get along.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: While I've listened to quite a bit of Ty Segall and White Fence over the years, this was my first time seeing either of them perform, and I really had no idea what to expect.

The Crowd: I think I've talked about them enough already.

Overheard In The Crowd: "That guy definitely has 'Ecstasy hands.'" 

Random Notebook Dump: Kudos to the vinyl-packed merch stand that Segall and White Fence had on offer. It was great to see all of the various LPs and 7" gems available.

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