Ty Segall throws it back to the ’70s with lo-fi psych-rock at Hi-Fi Music Hall

Ty Segall performs in 2012. On Sunday night, Segall and his Freedom Band played in Eugene for the first time in five years. (Flickr/Alan)

Before he took the stage, audience members discussed what outfit Ty Segall would be sporting Sunday night: “What do you think he’s going to wear tonight? That crazy cape, again?” This type of conversation is typical for a Ty Segall performance.

After releasing his second self-titled record earlier this year, Ty Segall stopped in Eugene for the second date of his 22-city US tour.

Along with his flashy attire that often features David Bowie-esque makeup and distractingly bright-red shirts, the psych-rock guitarist is best known for creating a sound that better fits in the 1970s than the late 2010s. The crowd reflected styles from that era too. Heads were bobbing and bodies were bumping like they were seeing The Doors at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, rather than a Hi-Fi Music Hall show in Eugene, Oregon.

Local funk doo-wop group Pancho + The Factory — who were featured at last year’s Willamette Music Festival — opened the show for Ty Segall with an energetic performance filled with up-tempo tunes that even had the guy in the back nodding and twisting in rhythm. Lead singer Pancho — a large man with a thick handlebar mustache — sounded in the same vein as Fred Schneider from the B-52’s. Local acts are often a toss up between unbearable and really good, but Pancho + The Factory were most certainly the latter.

Once Pancho and his band had finished their hour long set, Segall casually took the stage to help set up equipment with his stage techs. He wore a bright red, Western-style long sleeve shirt, of course. Just before the rest of his band joined him on stage he gave the audience the indication that this was going to be one loud show by strumming his guitar on full volume.

Segall opened the show by playing the hit “Break a Guitar” from his recently released album. The song’s screeching guitars are accompanied by chopping rhythms from the drums and bass. Audience members began crowd surfing during the very first song.

After playing three straight songs to kick off the concert, Segall greeted the crowd and thanked them for attending his band’s first Eugene performance in five years. He introduced the next song by saying, “This song’s about my dog,” then proceeded to sing about his one and only sunshine.  

Before playing a chaotic version of his single “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)” Segall introduced his band as the Freedom Band. Each member played a lick as their frontman announced their names individually. Segall’s longtime friend and collaborator Mikal Cronin played bass and provided backing vocals for the five-piece group.

Check out the Emerald’s coverage of Vince Staples’s performance at the Roseland Theater on March 1 here.

Following their performance of Fuzz’s early hit, Segall and his Freedom Band broke into a mostly instrumental jam session that consisted of only five lines of lyrics during a 15-minute period. After the admirably disorientating breakdown, the band broke into the intro to The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” as both Segall and lead guitarist Emmett Kelly picked the solo simultaneously.

After introducing his sister — who was welcomed by the crowd with chants of “Alex! Alex!” — and playing a combination of his older material and music from his new album, Segall finished his set and high-fived a single audience member before leaving the stage.

Chants of “one more song” from the audience led to Segall and his band’s return to the stage for a brief but epic encore that perfectly capped off his hour-and-a-half-long set.

Between Pancho and Segall’s bands, the performances at Hi-Fi on Sunday night made for a fun, energetic night of punk music.

Follow Zach on Twitter: @zach_price24

Update: An earlier version of this article referred to Segall’s sister as Alice. Her name is actually Alex. 

Editor in Chief - Daily Emerald

Zach is the Editor in Chief of the Daily Emerald newsroom. In his spare time, he enjoys watching the Portland Trail Blazers games.

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