Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ty Segall w/Mikal Cronin, Heavy Cream and More at Exit/In, 9/21/11

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

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For a marginal amount of folks, it’s a real bummer that SoundLand and Gonerfest are running concurrently this year. But leave it to Nashville’s Dead to pick up the slack in slacker rock that slipped through SoundLand’s cracks this time around and catch more than a few Memphis-bound bands on their way through the South. As can be expected with a five-band bill (that's taking place at the same time as the SoundLand kickoff), the night’s first two acts, D. Watusi and Slammers, got missed, The Spin walked into Exit/In just in time to catch three-chord darlings Heavy Cream. Not gonna lie. Having replaced half their original lineup now — Useless Eaters' Seth Sutton plays bass now — Heavy Cream is running a much tighter ship than their ramshackle beginnings. For the longest time, we were sure they were just coasting on cute fumes — but we’re ready to admit their chops and tunes are catching up.

Next up, San Fran-based Mikal Cronin laid out a rail of sonic cocaine that went straight up this crowd’s collective nostril. Propelled by a five-piece band, Cronin’s heavy take on summery California beach pop ties on traces of druggy San Fran psychedelia at hyper speeds, taking mind-expanding melodies to extreme highs and dirty guitar dirges to extreme lows, inciting a full-on dance-a-thon in the process. Things were getting a little sweaty in this half-full room, but had we known just how ape-shit things were about to get, we're not sure it would have helped us any. It was more like a time bomb than an unlit fuse.

Opening with the title track of his latest, Goodbye Bread, and featuring the aforementioned Cronin on bass, Ty Segall strummed its quiet, clean riff as if he were simply awaiting the countdown to insanity once the boom of his thundering acid-grunge took hold. Barely into his second song, the same album’s “Invisible Person,” The Spin felt nothing but palms and shoe soles all about our body, struggling to find a calm corner before another body or beer can landed on our head.

We’ve noticed Exit/In’s “No Stage Diving” signs on either side of the stage for months now, but we’ve never noticed them serving any sort of function. Unless, of course, irony can be considered a function of some sort. This was definitely the first time we’d seen anyone attempt to enforce it. One hulking, chrome-domed bouncer ventured into the crowd about mid-set to curb the sporadic dogpiling, but essentially did little more than to up the aforementioned irony of those signs on the wall. Both fans and the band noticed real quick The Man’s feeble attempts to harsh their mellow.

The camel’s back broke when Segall — with the aid of Cronin’s backing band — broke out The Misfits’ “Where Eagles Dare.” We’ve never seen so many would-be crowd surfers eat shit in such rapid succession. One after the other, they dove into the swirling, thinning mass, only to catch the break of an arm or shoulder before smacking Exit’s concrete floor — definitely, maybe a valid case for the sign, but also the ultimate proof of its futility. During a cover Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” the venue’s attempt at pulling the plug also proved ineffective. The band jammed on without the aid of house monitors or working microphones. They got the juice back for one last song. Segall pulled D. Watusi’s Dillion Watson onstage to take over on guitar, as he himself sang on top of the crowd, just before an outright attempt at pulling the aforementioned sign off the wall. We’ve given Exit some shit in the past for being a boring, square room, but we don’t mind getting paid for one less word by leaving it at square.

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