Fuzz at the Cave, 10/19/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
With CCR Headcleaner
The Cave, Carleton College, Northfield
Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's confirmed: Bay Area garage rock titan Ty Segall's many talents include drum kit hero. Fronting his psychedelic rock trio with an onomatopoetic name Fuzz, the prolific instigator wielded the sticks like he wanted to poke Don Henley's eyes out. With guitarist Charles Moothart and bassist Roland Cosio providing harmonic acrobatics and driving force, the guys laid into the group's self-titled debut to the delight of a small, wiry crowd at the Cave. 

See Also: Slideshow: Fuzz at the Cave, 10/19/13

And no, the Cave isn't a DIY basement in Whittier -- though the BYOB policy and the bands carrying their gear through the same entrance we walked through did make it feel that way. The 86-year-old 150-capacity venue with a compact stage is located in the bottom of a Carleton College dorm. It just underwent a major renovation last year, so the paint on the walls looked awfully fresh. Booking more sweaty shows like Fuzz will help restore the venue's grittiness, but in the mean time, the upgrades to the bathrooms, the bar, and the stage all make for a better concert experience. 

Photos by Erik Hess
Once they'd tweaked their monitor preferences sufficiently, Segall launched into one of several short, bizarre speeches he'd deliver throughout. Statements like "The future is shrouded in mystery," and "We are all made of flesh," took us a little further into the psyche of Fuzz -- even if the yells from the amped up crowd were content to just rock already. Everyone got their wish.

Blending the blues-tinged guitar heroics of Jimi Hendrix and Cream with the dark abandon of Black Sabbath, Fuzz spent an hour putting on an exhibition that would make Guitar Center employees drool. Segall sang passionately while exploding on his drums, but the draw of Fuzz was its dirty, sludgy, hair-swinging fury. Moothart, who is a familiar character in Segall's other live configurations, proved himself as a throwback axeman who executed every bit of his parts with precision -- and even bits of showy vibrato. While there was a punk attitude in "This Time I Got a Reason," his interplay with Cosio's blown-out bass was always locked in tight.

Segall, wearing a Neil Young shirt, made sure that things stayed away from anything resembling a jam band experience. While Fuzz's album has plenty of exploratory moments, the deviations from the source material were minor. The Nirvana redone as stoner rock appeal of "What's in My Head?" got the fervent crowd -- who had already had a few surfers scraping the low ceiling -- really thrashing and throwing air drums. Quite nasty stuff, actually.  

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