1. Downtown is awash with street closures and fenced-off parking spots pre-Life Is Beautiful, which makes tonight’s three-band Beauty Bar bill a dicey proposition, attendance-wise. Sure enough, the back patio is far from packed for opening acts Leather Lungs and CCR Headcleaner, but as the headlining Fuzz hits the stage just before 1 a.m., bodies swarm in from somewhere, and the crowd size winds up more than respectable.
2. The bassist for CCR Headcleaner is wearing a sleeveless Killers shirt, and one of the quartet’s guitarists dedicates their set to Las Vegas’ most decorated band, but the San Fran support act may very well be the living embodiment of an anti-“Brightside” sound. The group fuses sleaze with sludge, pausing to jam in deep roadside grooves before moving their noisy cart further down the road. Also of note: the drummer’s near refusal to begin playing CCRH’s long closing number.
3. The three men of Fuzz line up in a straight line near the foot of the stage, drummer dead center—which makes sense since the man atop the drum throne is Ty Segall, Bay Area rocker extraordinaire. His sticks skills are fairly impressive for a guy typically found with a guitar strapped on, especially considering he’s leaning into a mic, singing lead vocals for every song except one.
4. Perhaps vibing off the patio’s between-set Maggot Brain soundtrack, Segall repeatedly proclaims “Free your mind and your ass will follow/The kingdom of heaven is within” from Funkadelic’s 1970 classic, Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow. And perhaps heeding his words, a surprisingly large chunk of the crowd frees its mind, engaging in sloppy moshpit-style activity for the duration of the night.
5. Is there anything Ty Segall can’t do well? After proving himself as one of music's preeminent modern garage-rockers, the 26-year-old has branched out this year with gorgeously folky solo release Sleeper and now, heavy project Fuzz. Together with guitarist Charlie Moothart and bassist
Roland Cosio Chad Ubovich*, Segall rocks his way through a primal blend of proto metal, psych-rock and stoner-punk that harkens back to the long-haired ’70s. Can’t wait to hear what he’s into the next time he drops by.
*An astute reader pointed out that Cosio was not in attendance for this show, and a check with the band's publicist confirmed it. Cosio played on the album but is no longer in the band. Ubovich has played bass for Fuzz throughout the current tour.