Ty Segall: The Real Guitar Hero At First Avenue


July in Minnesota is a confusing time to be alive; For a place that spends most months literally frozen over, we get this one little month of heat and sun. It’s times like July that keep us around for the long winters, I’d argue, but for me – the redeeming factor for Minnesota is its music scene. So we had all we could ask for this weekend as our gorgeous weather was in pairing with musical sensation Ty Segall at First Avenue.

Would this memory keep me warm come winter? I had to find out as I made my way downtown to Minneapolis’s most historic concert venue. 

Parking that evening wasn’t an issue as I was blessed with the company of a childhood best friend this time around. We met at his place before the show to catch up, and were both more than curious about the opening act – Bill Nace. Nace is known for his experimental electric guitar playing, as well as known on the music scene for collaborations with a myriad of artists. 

Bill had most of the venue packed for him already as he played through the opening set. You hear a lot of sounds come from the stage of First Ave when you go to shows as often as we do at TCM, but Nace hands-down had one of the most unique sounds I’ve ever heard. Bill’s final piece was over ten minutes long and the psychedelic jam session left my friend and I in a literally trance. As my friend said so well, Bill Nace is confident as hell with their stage presence and is genuinely playing music from the soul. Confidence and joy are a must if you come out as a one-man-band like Bill did. 

There was a few minutes between sets before Ty Segall finally took to stage: Almost in honor of the patriotic holiday, he was to be joined by the “Freedom Band” but he initially only came out with one other guitar player. Battle of the Guitars wasn’t something I thought I wanted, but I needed to see this duet jam out for the first few songs as they did.

Ty’s musical abilities were clear from the get-go. All I could think about while I watched him play was the 2000s video game series “Guitar Hero” because it truly had that vibe. An intimate venue, and absolute guitar guru jamming away on stage. This all came to a climax once the rest of the band came out (mid-song set change that the crowd loved) and the night turned into more of a Rock Band vibe (another video game – my analogies need a new theme). 

With tensions in society at an all-time high, we need escapes and reminders of what is still good in the world. I’m very grateful that I finally got a chance to see Segall in concert, as well as getting a chance to experience Bill Nace. Next time these two are in town, don’t miss out – come join us!