Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | Ty Segall
Before Ty Segall and friends even took the stage, another character of music lore decided to greet the crowd. Just as he did before Pavement's Pitchfork performance in 2010, "Rockin' Ryan" Murphy descended upon the stage to share some musings. "Fences are down out there...this is now a free festival!" he shouted to much cheering, only to be corrected by some head honchos in the wings. "Actually it's $45 for the day. But I thought music was made free a few years ago?" he countered, followed by the proclamation, "Make music free!" It was clear there were some mixed reactions from the crowd as to who this random dude was, but the ’90s Q101 DJ continued to preach to his captive audience. His commentary focused on reciting a list of moshpit rules, most of which boiled down to loving each other and making sure the genitals you grab are your own, not someone else's. "A gentle pit is happy pit, but maybe there won't be a pit because it's a thousand stiffies right now. Just lay down in the fuckin' mud!" he ordered to more uncertain cheering. Finally, Ty Segall came out, offering a grateful gesture toward his unexpected opener.
Segall's Mike Love button-down suited the occasion and his music well, as did his band's tie-dye slacker chic a la Clueless's "All the Young Dudes" montage. Tracks swayed with Beach Boys–esque opening harmonies only to catapult into hard rolling rock. Segall's dynamic vocal work was aided by a solid backing band, including impressive drumwork by Emily Rose Epstein. The biggest pleasers were tracks off 2010's Melted, like "Imaginary Person" and "Girlfriend," which resulted in the flinging of a Sperry topsider onto the stage. It was a difficult time slot for the band, creating dueling garage rock epicenters between Segall and Thee Oh Sees across the park. "On the count of three you gotta yell 'Dwyer'!" Segall prompted, referring of course to TOS's frontman. After the second Dwyer shout session, the crowd was surprised to hear an equally loud "What?!" from the wings. "Holy shit!" Segall yelled upon seeing John Dwyer appear out of nowhere. "Hey buddy," was Dwyer's response, allowing for the rest of Segall's set to continue with the garage rock world back at equilibrium.
Segall and company served up a great cover of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," aided by the audience's tirade of "oi's." Despite all his successes, Segall maintains a certain boy-next-door charm that's evident in his stage banter and niceties. Case in point: dedicating his set to a sweet, under 5-year-old girl backstage named Ronnie.