Ty Segall featuring Mac DeMarco - 2/1/2013 - Webster Hall
Better than: CIRCUS night at Webster Hall.
To say that Mac DeMarco and his band are a bit dotty would be an understatement. DeMarco acts like a backwoods Jeffery Lebowski, chugging beer on stage and burping into the microphone, all with a sort of "aw shucks" grin plastered over his face. And he's not even the goofiest guy on stage -- his bassist repeatedly asked the audience to hashtag "it's only smells" and meandered his way over to kiss the lead guitarist during a breakdown. DeMarco introduced every song by name, as in, "This is a song called 'Cooking Up Something Good.'" At one point they even covered Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff."
The thing is: DeMarco pulls it off. He's not reinventing the wheel or anything, but his songs aren't half as sloppy as his persona. Raunchy? Sure. But with a inbred genius quality. Last night, he played most of the cuts off of his blogosphere darling record 2. The album has elements of Bowie-esque glam, and he mixed that with complete irreverence: At one point, everyone in the band opened Corona Lights with their teeth. He himself has called his music "jizz jazz." DeMarco totally seems like the sort of guy who would have volunteered for medical experiments to make a bit of dough.
And as much fun as Mac DeMarco was, Ty Segall was the reason Webster sold out on Friday. It makes sense that the only serious moment in DeMarco's performance was when he thanked Segall. He mentioned his name with reverence, and that's the sort of attitude people have had toward the Californian rocker lately, and with good reason; he's been on a Babe Ruth style home run spree, releasing albums constantly over the past year.
A comparison to Neil Young is a heavy one to make, but Segall echos that heavy peace wager on multiple levels. On each record, he does his own thing with artistic confidence that makes you trust the material, even if it's not your cup of tea. He steps into his own shoes with vigor (in DeMarco speak: You can smell the intensity). Last night, Segall displayed that characteristic range, playing pop songs and heavy jamtasic tunes alike.
Some of his most popular songs -- "Goodbye Bread" and "My Sunshine" -- were absent from the set. He played hardly anything of off Goodbye Bread, one of his best records. But given the massive well of material Segall has to draw from that's understandable -- he's got two (or is it three? Or four?) new records to tour behind. The culmination of his set was "Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart", off Slaughterhouse.
By this point in the show, people crowd surfed and moshed (but not too violently). A guy repeatedly shoved me from behind, then pushed through to the front. His friend tapped me on the shoulder and apologized, saying, "Sorry man, he's just fucking stoked out of his mind." I think we all were.
Random Notebook Dump: Storied Bushwick artist Jason Grunwald made original hand-drawn posters for this show.
Overheard: SCREAMED, in reference to Segall's female drummer: "Dude, that drum chick is blowing my mind."