Howdy folks—your trusty, buttoned-down, amigo Mark here. Occasionally I’ll be stopping by this space to opine on all things ancillary to the Fuzz brand and its founders—likely music, Nashville, gear (I recently sold a banjo at Guitar Center, so i’m legit), venues and/or shows. I’m able to freely discuss a habit of finding myself in awkward situations, so it’s probably best for both of us that we start there.
If you were to see me at a rock show you would think the following:
- That guy is a lawyer. (Technically I used to practice law, but you are correct.)
- That guy probably has a golden retriever. (Correct again! His name is Brad and he’ll be seven in June.)
- That guy is probably thinking something awkward and barely avoiding saying it aloud. (How perceptive of you.)
- That guy has never been in a band. (Unless you count a couple one-off practice sessions and a show in law school, you would be correct.)
- That guy might have some amusing anecdotes about an evening he spent at a Ty Segall show that I could read in a web-based magazine on my lunch break. (Maybe i’m projecting, but I think so.)
- Did he just say he was voted Most Dependable of his class in high school? (Yes, I did just say that. Though, in retrospect, this seems like a weird time to have shared that. And yes, Most Dependable is a real superlative.) I set Most Dependable in italics to avoid the use of quotes. I was, in fact, the most dependable person in school. I was not figuratively the most dependable.
- Is this guy counting the number of people he sees wearing dragons on their clothing? (How did you catch me doing that? Was I pointing and then counting on my fingers?)
- He looks like he would be just as happy to discuss those Bill Dance fishing blooper videos from the 1990s as anything else.
Indeed I would.
I’m a newcomer to the music of Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin. My tastes are currently confined almost exclusively to rock from the 70s and country from the 90s. The only reason I was aware of this show was that one of the fuzz bags moved to Nashville and told me I needed to see this band. He was correct. In the weeks preceding the show I was able to get some exposure to Segall’s recent album, Manipulator, the old fashioned way—via NPR’s First Listen. The live show turned out to be quite different from the experience of Ty Segall through earbuds on NPR.org.
But enough about me. Let’s move on to my thoughts and experiences.
I settled in right about the time the openers got off stage. The crowd seemed to be made up entirely of people 5 to 10 years younger than me along with the ever-present, “fifty-seven-year-old-dude-with-denim-jacket-at-a-rock-show.” Every town has one, but Nashville boasts many of these guys.
The show started with a man wearing a cowboy hat appearing at the mic. I was immediately curious as to whether he wore the hat as an attempt at humor due to the tour stop in Nashville or whether that was just his, you know, normal headwear. After a few semi-scripted lines about being some sort of cosmic-alien-cowboy charged with bringing Ty and his band from outer space to wow us, I figured out that this guy was playing the roll of a manager. That bit worked.
The crowd was in a frenzy as the band walked on stage. My vantage point, a sensible 25 feet back from the front, was obscured by one of the massive wooden support beams that screw up the view in Nashville’s Mercy Lounge for a large number of concertgoers on a nightly basis.
The show was WAY louder than I expected. As soon as the first song was in full force, the crowd on the floor in front of the stage started moving in waves—a few steps forward, then staggering back, then forward, without end, riding the waves of “new Nashville.”
Sort of like this:
Space-cowboy dude appeared again and did the same. Somebody flew into the stage and knocked over/bent the mic stands. The band was loving it.
As you might expect, I was relieved to not be standing in the front and to have the obscuring pole (trademark registration application pending) there to block aerosolized Segall fans. As the music blared I could not stop looking at these people at the front of the stage and wondering how they were going to explain the broken noses and severe facial edema to their respective bosses at work the next day. I saw young people get mule-kicked square in the head with Doc Martens.
Needing a breather I headed toward the back of the house. I stopped to get a Budweiser and–crucial error here, Fuzz fans–took the beer with me into the bathroom. Gents, you know those urinals that have sloped or otherwise insufficient top shelves forcing the user to either attempt to holster their beer in a back pocket, squeeze the beer between the upper arm and chest (never works), or precariously balance the beer atop the metal gasket thing connecting the urinal to the wall? This bathroom had those. I went for it with the balancing act and paid the price (1). A drunk came charging in the bathroom, slamming the door and jostling my brew. Being otherwise occupied I was unable to catch it. The beer hit the deck in what was not at all a metaphor of the show. Shoes were soaked, apologies were accepted.
Needing a break after the breather, I headed to the back of the room to get a little work in. Hey–emails and Mexican food reviews aren’t gonna write themselves, right? The back of a Ty Segall show is not a great place to get work done. Initial observation of my surroundings made obvious that the back was populated by the type of concertgoers who own serpents and keep them in their apartments. No offense if you own a python, but I am more scared of you than I am your snake. And I hate snakes.
Anyways, I headed back up near the front to finish out the show. My advice to you is this: If you get a chance to see Ty Segall, do it. While you should only stand in the very front if you are looking to get surprised by a kick in the ear, by no means should you stand in the back. Only people working on their iPhones and snake people stand back there.
1. The worst is attempting to balance a bottle on the half-inch piece of plywood separating the urinals. You have no chance with that move.
Mark is a former lawyer who lives in Nashville. If you see a guy who looks like this caricature walking a golden retriever in Germantown, feel free to say hi. You should know, however, that there is another guy who looks a lot like Mark who also walks a golden retriever in Germantown so you might be saying hi to the wrong dude. It has caused confusion in the past—including one particular incident where the other dude’s wife hollered down the street at Mark several times before getting a closer look and realizing her mistake. Anyway, say hi. You can also find him on the internet at basketofchips.com and instagram.com/cmharrod.