OCS + TY SEGALL + SHANNON LAY @ THE TERAGRAM BALLROOM
Photos by Marcos Manrique. Words by Madison Desler
With the weather consistently hanging at 80 degrees or higher these past few weeks, things haven’t exactly felt Christmasy around Los Angeles. That changed at The Teragram Ballroom where a sold-out crowd was given the absolute gift of an intimate, largely acoustic set from three of LA’s heaviest heavyweights. Shannon Lay, Ty Segall, and OCS (John Dwyer has changed Oh Sees back to the very first moniker) took to the stage for the first night of their string of benefit shows for LA Kitchen
Shannon Lay kicked off the snug and cozy evening with a set of stunners off her latest album Living Water, her pastoral picking and cool-water voice bringing the room to a hush. On a stage lit warmly with the help of an actual table lamp, she expertly set the tone for the evening with her elegant compositions and relaxed approach.
Up next was Ty Segall, who—even alone onstage with just a guitar—took the advertised concept of “mellow acoustic” to its limit, pummeling the six strings with graceful brawn as he roared through covers of John Lennon’s “Isolation” and The Dils’ “Class War.” Mightily stripped-down versions of his newest songs like “Fanny Dog” and “My Lady’s On Fire”—off the upcoming Freedom’s Goblin—were standouts of the set, as was his ultimately fatal attempt to re-tune in the middle of “Break A Guitar,” and bringing his wife out on stage and planting one on her after introducing “You Make The Sun Fry” as one of many songs inspired by her. The kiss was met with a big round of applause, the frequency of Segall and Dwyer’s shows at Teragram filling the room with the comfortable feeling of being friends and family.
Rounding out the evening was John Dwyer and the eight other musicians—including a three-piece string section—that currently make up OCS, playing through their latest album Memory Of A Cut Off Head. Comprised of equal parts shambolic, gently rambling folk (the title track, “Neighbor To None”), and 60s baroque-pop (“The Remote Viewer,” “On And On Corridor), the album was played flawlessly, it’s high points hitting all the harder thanks to longtime collaborator Brigid Dawson joining Dwyer on the stage once again. “Every time I get an e-mail yelling at me about her not being on stage, I send it to her,” Dwyer explained. He was clearly happy to have her back for the time being, and even appeared to be slightly choked up after she performed “The Fool”—a heartbreakingly beautiful, downtempo cut about a having a lover that leaves to follow his muse. Needless to say, the set was a far cry from the fuzzed-out insanity of a typical Oh Sees show—something that made the evening feel all the more special.