Ty Segall Rocks the Summit Music Hall, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Watching my 13-year-old Mosh
Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath
Ty Segall and his band put on a great show last Saturday at the Summit- brash, cheerful, noisy rock and roll that shook me out of my usual Trump-era funk. I’ve seen Ty before- watching his rise from gangly young indie phenom to the road-tested but still cheeky rocker he is today. I knew that I wanted to be close, but not too close, so I found myself a safe, middle-aged rock mom hideout at the side of the stage. It’s a great place to watch shows at the Summit- you can see everything, you get to share the stage sound but are protected from the intense volume of the mains, and you are immune from the inevitable mosh pit.
As a life-long rock and roller with a penchant for edgy guitar rock- I’ve been avoiding the mosh pit for many decades. I don’t like being pushed around, period. Also, growing up around the Denver punk scene of the late 80’s- mosh pits were often dominated by scary and aggressive skinheads who seemed to be trying to hurt people, or dipshit boys who paid no attention to anyone but themselves. I loved the energy but I’ve never been so in love with a band that I wanted to risk being trampled or ending up with a broken nose.
So Saturday night as I hung in my stage-side safety zone, checking out Ty Segall’s jubilantly noisy set, I had the perfect view of both of my teenaged kids- the girl, a seasoned rock show veteran at 16, pressed up against the stage gate, throwing elbows and pushing back hard against anyone vying for her prime location.
And then, behind her, I caught a fleeting glance of the boy. My baby-faced, curly-haired boy, dressed in tie dye, all hopped up on Coca-Cola and puberty. He was being bounced around forcibly by a throng of drunk people much older and larger than he, and my first reaction was- I had get him out of there, fast. I also wanted to scold anyone involved in pushing my kid around. He would bob in an out of my line of sight- mostly I caught glimpses of his mop of curls, relieved that if I could see the top of his head, he was not being crushed underfoot by the seething mob. I lost focus on the music and became ensnared in the drama of watching my child at the mercy of the wildly undulating horde.
Ty’s classic “Finger” was a high-point of the set, and for just a minute, the mass of mosh parted in just a way that I caught a full view of my son: sweaty, flushed, ecstatic. He was grinning from ear to ear and bobbing around like a pinball. The music and the mosh pit combined to create a perfect moment: a testosterone and adrenaline-fueled obliteration of the wicked adolescent ego. A safe but not too safe outlet for pent up aggression. A powerful collective experience. Joy.