Monday, September 24, 2012
Live: Thee Oh Sees/Ty Segall/Flesh Lights/Gal Pals @ La Zona Rosa9/15/12
I thought I had a proper idea of the chaos that would ensue when I entered this show. Hell, I had even seen Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall at fests and other clubs before. However, under the darkened lights of La Zona Rosa something happened that morphed this from just a standard garage/punk show to something more. At its core it was the degree of insanity and intensity that was shared between the bands and the crowd as one played while the other went wild. More so though, the thing that made said insanity and intensity so constant through out the night was the fact that every band that touched the stage played like they were on fire. It was a manic, hot, and seemingly crazy night, but also one of the best shows I have seen all year.
Unfortunately, one band has the duty to start everything off and that night it fell upon Gal Pals. A local band that I hadn't heard of until that night, they weren't bad in any sense. In fact they performed quite simple but catchy distorted pop-garage; a little Super Wild Horses with some Vivian Girls in their as well. The set though was just so minimal that it just didn't grab you, no matter how hard they tried. Still, it wasn't a half bad intro for the night, even though the cat calls and douchebagish taunts in between songs didn't help.
When the Flesh Lights took the stage is when the show truly started. Shedding any of the power-pop hooks that balance out their jagged punk sound on record, the Flesh Lights played a set of hyper-gruff, solo filled, modern punk that immediately ignited a mosh pit in the crowd that would last for the rest of the night. The Flesh Lights soundtracked it perfectly, being everything a local punk band should be. They went crazy with their guitarist flailing, their bassist jumping from his own amp, and their stone-faced drummer both bashed away at her kit and kept the band steady as well. As a perfect finale, they invited a friend to play drums while the Flesh Lights own drummer grabbed the microphone. The band then launched into a stupendous cover of Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" that confirmed the Flesh Lights are one of the best bands in Austin.
At some point Ty Segall will stop being good. His songs won't be as great as they are now, and he won't be able to rock out with his band like he does now. That time is nowhere close to coming. Easily the best Ty Segall show I have ever seen, it worked because, contradictory, of the constraint. This is not to say Segall and his cohorts did not go crazy. They went beyond crazy, shoving so much energy and noise into their songs that it was a miracle that the show didn't deform or start blurring together. But because Segall eventually would have to get off stage for Thee Oh Sees, the sprawl that sometimes emerges from his sets didn't occur here, leading to much more focused set instead. Like I said earlier, not to say their was any lack of energy from the band at all. They were beyond full force here, just laying waste to every song they played. It was summed up perfectly as Segall pulled off a rock star move, trying to have the crowd carry him and his mic while he played "Caesar". It seemed like he was actually pulling it off before he was quickly dropped. That didn't matter though as Segall quickly jumped back on stage and bashed through the rest of the song as members of the crowd sang the song through the discard microphone. It was rock star glory and sloppy, garage abandonment all rolled into one, and the perfect embodiment of the show (and band) itself.
Thee Oh Sees
Jesus Christ. Let it be know that every story you have ever heard of how incredible Thee Oh Sees are live is absolutely true. After the glory that was Ty Segall and co.'s set, one would think that anyone that stepped on stage and tried to match it that would be setting themselves up for an impossible goal. Thee Oh Sees pulled it off without a slightest bit of effort on their part. As drained as the crowd was from Segall set, as soon as the band launched into "The Dream" a second wind enveloped everyone, the wonderfully spastic and weird energy from the band being absorbed by everyone as they played. While there was no shortage of stage diving with Ty Segall's set, with Thee Oh Sees it was just kicked into overdrive, with people practically diving to every song, especially when the realization hit that not only was the back area not guarded (thus allowing for prime stage access), but that security was not going to do anything to stop the stage divers either. It was that constant danger/excitement, along with the wild pit, all soundtracked to Thee Oh Sees' psychotic garage psych that made the set so incredible. Their was never one point during their show where one of your senses was not hit was some sense of craziness. But Thee Oh Sees found the good kind of crazy, and brought that sense to everyone at La Zona Rosa.