Live Review: Ty Segall + Axis: Sova at Oval Space, Bethnal Green

Mayhem. If one word comes to mind thinking about Ty Segall’s show at Oval space that would be it. Multi-instrumentalist Ty Segall and his equally multi-faceted Freedom Band members sent the crowd into frenzy the moment they played the first song of their hour and a half long set. Their support act, Axis: Sova, set the tone by playing a brief set from LP Shampoo You, and even though their lead man, Brett Sova, seemed to be enjoying himself on stage, the guitar-noise trio and their drum machine did not quite prepare us for a vigorous Ty Segall.

Then Ty himself came on, set everything up (everything meaning all five band members and about 10 instruments), and started playing ‘Taste’. It was then that old school garage rockers and Hackney hipsters alike started cavorting around. Some head-banged, some moved erratically, and some -perhaps too many- threw empty beer cans, t-shirts and other objects on stage. Things got even more out of control when a smoke machine malfunctioned, nearly causing everyone in the room to stifle, but no one seemed to care. To whoever was too drunk it was just a slight daze, to those elated by the music nothing really mattered because Ty fucking Segall was right there, having an epic drum-off with his fellow drummer, Charles Moothart. Yes, there were two drums kits on a stage that was way too small to hold all six musicians comfortably.

The set list included all of the songs from his latest album First Taste (released in August of this year) with Segall’s new airy, experimental sound, plagued with lo-fi distortions and vocal harmonies. For the second half of the show, the entire Melted track list wrapped it all up on a high, with its potent punk psychedelia. Although it was an extensive set list and arguably it could have benefited from a few omissions here and there, time went by incredibly quickly and the atmosphere kept building up with every song.

By the time they played the encore it was clear to me why Ty Segall has gained cult following over the years: not only is he an extremely versatile musician, but he has also put together the perfect ensemble of eccentric multi-instrumentalists. On stage, they make the mix of genres work so inherently that it is almost surreal, not to mention the amazing collage of unconventional instruments they manage to assemble. Absolutely one of a kind.

Review by Melanie Kaidan Biglia

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