January 31st, 2011 | Live reviews

photo by Ben Irwin, Pinpoint Music

If I still played in a band, my favorite night to perform would be Thursday night because Thor’s Day audiences are ready to get crazy. All week they have put up with over-demanding bosses or teachers and over-protective parents. Then on Thursday, they pack light, come out at night and stand on the precipice of the glorious WEEKEND. So as I strolled into the Echoplex  to revel in another FYF show featuring Monotonix, Ty Segall, Devin Therriault, and Tijuana Panthers, I was ready to dive into the fray (despite the clearly posted signs on those black ‘come on in’ doors saying “NO STAGE DIVING” (yeah right…).

The Thursday night crowd was out in full force and by the time Tijuana Panthers took the stage there was a sizable presence waiting to relish in the particular blend of surf pop that TJPs likes to splish and splash in. I couldn’t help notice all the lovely girls about 3 rows deep, all transfixed on TJPs as they broke into “Girls Gone Wild”—and, whaddya know, they did! TJPs’ music is so steeped in Coppertone and 4 foot lefts that, at one point, I could of sworn I had sand between my toes. I love the fact that they relish the safe surf pop they create. If they were a surf spot they would be Trestles, not Rincon, but who cares? Their fan base was there and strong, enjoying songs like “Redheaded Girl,” “Crew Cut,” and “This Town.” They put on a solid set.

Devin Therriault and his band hail from Brooklyn and I couldn’t help but think how happy they must be to be in sun-baked Cali on the Echoplex stage. The songs smelled of leather motorcycle jackets and hollow body guitars, a blend of 1950s slick/Buddy Holly/with a hint of punk flair. “New Horrors” and “Masochist” stood out but all the songs had a shiny shoe polish on them (I wonder if I am the only one who would like to hear them scuffed up a bit?). The audience, for the most part, seemed unfamiliar with Devin’s music but was receptive and engaged.

Remember those “NO STAGE DIVING” signs mentioned earlier?

Well…the sheer sonic blast that is Ty Segall stripped any inhibitions or considerations of obedience away and by the time the chunky guitar strains of “Die Tonight” started—once sane boys and girls were diving off the stage like the audience itself was a naked, undulating pool party (much to the chagrin of the Echoplex security staff). Liability insurance aside, pretty soon even the Stage Diving police backed off because there was nothing anyone could do to stop the infectious thing that was happening here. It is no wonder that Pitchfork, Spin and Rolling Stone included Segall’s fourth album, Melted, in their “Best of 2010 Lists”—Ty Segall’s noise rock is balls-out for sure but the songs also have sweet melodies and psychedelic tones AND some brilliant songwriting. I would bet a dozen “funny” donuts that “Caesar” have William Burroughs and Timothy Leary shimmy-shaking in some lava-lamped purgatory.

Monotonix, hmmmm…Monotonix…hmmmm?? Hey, what can I say? This garage rock band from Israel baffled the hell out of me. Part performance art, part garage rock, part “what the fuck?” As the guitarist snaked through the audience like a pied piper of mayhem, the “bearded one,” as I like to call him, used the audience as a free form terrain, scaling people or drum kits or whatever to the ceiling. Monotonix was like a metal rock organism invading the entire floor space and inviting everyone in on the insanity. The stage was filled with photographers and videographers—who, by the way, looked as baffled as I felt. It was stupefying and surreal. In quite a touching way, “the bearded one” (aka Ami Shalev) announced that this was their last tour because, after 6 years of touring, he needed to spend more time with his son AND the pied piper guitarist just had a baby girl.  Awwwwww…nice. Then he said something like, “Be careful on your body…Be free on your mind,” and the mayhem started again!

INSANELY entertaining show at the Echoplex—standout performance for me was Ty Segall—Kudos to FYF for another great show—Kudos to the Echoplex’s awesome staff—Kudos to the CAPACITY crowd that came out on Thor’s day—Thanks to Ben @ Pinpoint for the awesome pics that accompany this review.

Adler Bloom