Ty Segall Bridged Generational Gaps in Idaho

Treefort Music Festival, March 22

Photo: Steel Brooks 

BY Allie GregoryPublished Mar 24, 2024

I might take a hit to my punk cred by admitting this, but the only time I've ever risked life and limb to crowd-surf was at a Ty Segall show. It's been several years and the end of my 20s since then, and I now value my bones too much, so I mostly stick to the sidelines — instead living vicariously through the still-invincible kids getting lifted into the crowd, occasionally offering a helping hand to guide them to their rock 'n' roll destinies while trying to avoid a foot to the face. Those invincible kids were in full force on Friday night at Segall's Treefort Music Hall performance in Boise, ID — his second show of this year's festival — kicking off at a very ripe 11:40 p.m. MT (or 1:40 a.m. for us ET dwellers).

Segall's yellow bob and eye tattoos were in hi-def from my spot near the barrier, his four bandmates turned toward the crowd as the bandleader tilted his guitar inversely toward them, almost timidly — a stark contrast to his usual showtime bravado. Instead, his performance did the talking for him, starting appropriately with "The Bell," the opening track of his excellent brand-new double album, Three Bells.

It wasn't long before face-melting began, with the album's sequential "Void" becoming the vessel for Segall's psych foundation to bloom. Menacingly delivering the lyric, "withered bark drinks the morning dew," the singer seemed to almost challenge the audience to misinterpret the song's brighter tones. Fiercely precise finger-tapping and blues-tinged jams set the venue alight in the moments to come, with Segall giving Jack White a run for his money on "I Hear." The Three Bells fanfare continued with "Hi Dee Dee," whose influence, Segall's wife and CIA bandmate, Denée Segall, was wholly felt despite her absence. Fan service, in the form of "Breakfast Eggs" from 2016's Emotional Mugger and "My Lady's on Fire" from 2018's Freedom's Goblin, among others, grounded an otherwise hyper-current set. 

Shortly after the strike of midnight, Segall's stage presence warmed markedly, with the singer even goading the audience to crowd-surf a Chats-coded youth onto the stage. The exercise turned out to be mostly moot, as the kid, freshly torn white T-shirt and sweat-soaked mullet, seemed too wasted to even give Segall the fist bump he requested. In finally breaking my gaze from the stage and getting a lay of the land, it was a similarly feckless exercise in concert demographics: 15 photographers in the pit, each representing any subculture you could muster, a pair of snapback-adorned tweens to the side hiding their vape clouds from security, cowboy-fringed jackets, someone wearing corpse paint, a dude wearing a hot dog-shaped hat, and dads — dads everywhere. A testament to the headliner's universal draw? As we steadily approached the witching hour, my guess would be yes. 

Treefort Music Festival's sets are surprisingly long, and an hour into the already-late set, I was fading and decided to pack it in. Before I escaped into the night, Segall treated the hall to the second helping of "My Best Friend" this weekend. Sadly absent were the song's music video stars, Fanny and Herman, his wiener dogs.

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