Ty Segall Makes Downtown Home

Los Angeles alt rocker Ty Segall is marking the release of his new album First Taste by playing every Friday night at the Teragram Ballroom for more than two months. Each evening he’ll play the new record and another album from his catalogue. 

If you haven’t seen Ty Segall live in concert, this week is your chance. If you miss it, don’t worry — there are nine more upcoming opportunities.

The prolific and itinerant L.A. alternative rocker performs across the city almost weekly, but is making City West’s Teragram Ballroom his home for the summer. Segall began a 10-week residency at the venue on July 26 in support of his new album First Taste. He’ll be there every Friday night through Sept. 27.

Although he’s a regular fixture in Los Angeles, this stint is unique. Angelenos seem interested — a limited number of $200 tickets for all 10 performances quickly sold out.

Residencies at Los Angeles music clubs are common, though most feature lesser-known artists performing early in the week, often on a Monday. Here, Segall and his backing Freedom Band are headlining each Friday. Later there will be extended stays in a few other cities, including New York and London.

Long-term stays are something Segall had been pondering for a bit. The whole idea started as “a way to stay at home for the summer and still work and still play,” he told Los Angeles Downtown News last week. Segall, who lives in Topanga Canyon, has been a regular performer at the Teragram over the years, often doing multi-night stays.

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Segall said he was talking with the Teragram staff during the spring when someone put forward the idea to do 10 shows. He admits he can’t remember who first seriously suggested it.

“Someone said something crazy and the other person called the other person’s bluff,” Segall said.

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Segall will play two albums each night from start to finish, beginning with First Taste and then going through selections from his catalogue. On Aug. 2 and 9 that means his 2010 breakout Melted. He plays Goodbye Bread Aug. 16 and 23, Emotional Mugger Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, and closes out the run with 2014’s Manipulator.

Scott Simoneaux, music booker at the Teragram, said Segall and the venue have a deep history, and that pretty much everyone at the 600-person-capacity Teragram is a fan of his work. The residency was a natural fit.

“In the four years we’ve been open, he’s played here as much if not more than any other artist,” Simoneaux said.

First Taste is a departure from Segall’s guitar-driven predecessor Freedom’s Goblin. The album lets the Freedom Band mix up instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on drums (for the First Taste set, Segall is playing drums in addition to singing). It mixes some jam-centric shredding with more laid-back riffs reminiscent of late-era Beatles.

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Segall said it was difficult to decide which albums to play at the residency, as First Taste is his 13th studio album since 2008. He favored Emotional Mugger and Goodbye Bread, and when he started playing Melted in rehearsal it quickly became fun for him. But he acknowledged that some of his friends are unhappy that their favorite Ty Segall records didn’t make the cut.

The Teragram’s 50 10-show passes were quickly snatched up, Simoneaux said. Individual tickets for upcoming dates are on sale for $28-$30, and given Segall’s strong local support, Simoneaux expects that other fans will also wind up at all 10 Downtown Los Angeles dates.

“It falls mostly in the summertime, so some people’s schedules are weird. They might get out to only two or three shows, but they have flexibility to get in and see some of the later concerts,” Simoneaux said.

Each show will last about two hours, Segall said, though he added that every evening will be different. He called First Taste kind of an “open jam style,” but other albums differ in emphasis and pacing. He also plans to do additional songs outside of the albums each night, mixing in favorites and deep cuts.

Segall also plans to mix up the evenings through his selection of opening acts. He chose local bands including Ruth Garbus and The Intelligence to play first (the one exception is Japan’s DMBQ, which plays the last two shows).

The Teragram residency is the longest stop on the First Taste tour. Segall said that is in part because he lives in L.A., and also because of the support system he has in the city. Hometown shows are “always slightly more insane” he said.

“I don’t know how insane,” Segall said with a laugh. “You’ll have to find out.”

Ty Segall plays every Friday through Sept. 27 at the Teragram Ballroom, 1234 W. Seventh St., (213) 689-9100 or teragramballroom.com.

nicholas@downtownnews.com