Photos by Emily Turner
Ty Segall returned to San Francisco with his new Sleeper Band for a special acoustic performance at the Great American Music Hall last night. Mike Donovan, Jessica Pratt, and David Novick supported the show.
Jessica Pratt took the stage around 9pm, battling the buzzing crowd with a quiet, acoustic solo set. The singer-songwriter announced that this would be her last show in San Francisco as a San Francisco resident, and politely asked the noisy crowd in the back of the venue to keep it down. Early on, there seemed to be a rift between those in front who actually gave a shit about the music, and those in back who seemed to be more interested in keeping the Labor Day social hour going. Pratt, visibly annoyed — albiet angelic in her stage presence — continued to play a few new songs, and a few from her self-titled debut.
Mike Donovan, formerly a primary member of the recently dismantled Sic Alps, performed a bluesy acoustic set with William Keihn on drums and Eric Park on an additional acoustic guitar. The performance started out with a largely forgettable set of blues-tinged folk rock jams, but eventually livened up a bit as Donovan busted out his harmonica.
Ty Segall took the stage around 10:40 with the Sleeper Band, consisting of Charles Moothart on drums and electric guitar, Sean Paul Presley on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Andre Luttrell on electric bass. Segall masterfully played his own acoustic guitar while singing his heart out for the duration of the set, except for the electric guitar solo finale of “The Man Man”, during which he played drums.
The seated performance was basically an extension of the band’s FYF set, only in a far more appropriate indoor setting. Sleeper, Segall’s first album of 2013 (out now on Drag City), was played in its entirety. The order of closing tracks “Queen Lullabye” and “The West” were switched and preceded by b-side “For Those Who Weep” (featuring Presley’s impressive whistling skills).
Sleeper is a somber, more personal affair than we are used to hearing from this SF garage rock institution, as the (mostly) acoustic psychedelic folk album confronts “pretty weird family stuff” surrounding the passing of Segall’s adoptive father eight months ago. Having written the album in San Francisco, Segall told Noisey that the album was unaffected by his recent move to LA. While the set didn’t elicit any crow surfing or head bashing, it did showcase his acoustic guitar shredding skills and emotional vocal dexterity.
Shifting the mood of the evening, Segall went on to lead acoustic renditions of garage rock favorites from his extensive back catalog. “Caesar”, “You’re the Doctor”, “Ghost”, “Sad Fuzz”, and “Girlfriend” got the crowd moving up until the encore break.
After locating the owner of a lost passport, Segall returned to the stage for a solo cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. He was joined by his band for three more acoustic encores, including “You Make the Sun Fry” and a cover of Love’s “Live and Let Live”.
The nostalgic setting of San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall fit the bill perfectly, bringing a satisfying close to the long weekend. If you missed the show, catch Ty Segall’s Sleeper Band at Big Sur’s Fernwood Resort on Wednesday, or at Oakland’s The New Parish on Thursday.