To understand The Manipulator Band is to accept about their history. Their manager, Jimmy Longhorn, is a fast talkin’, horse lovin’, space cowboy who owns a saloon on the fourth moon of Jupiter. The Manipulator Band are a guitar-lovin garage rock psyche band. In the 1970’s, The Manipulator Band were travelling in their space RV and ran out space gas near Jimmy’s saloon. In need of money, Longhorn decided to take a chance on the rockers and found them to be fan-tas-tic. After traveling a few light years to Earth, with their minion in tow — because yes, they have a minion — the band has finally arrived on Earth with a mission to share their space rock sound.
In fact, Longform was exuberant to present The Manipulator Band at the newly renovated Turf Club; strictly due to the clubs’ cowboy western theme. After reminiscing on their history, requesting applause for their minion (sheathed in black cloth)…and a 5 second moment of silence for the planet Jupiter, Jimmy moved on with the show, exclaiming in sing-song phrasing, “so without further galactic adieu, I present to you….The Manipulator Band.”
Vaudevillian exaggeration aside, there was a rare energy in the air during Ty Segall’s 75-minute set. Dawning space makeup, the bands’ [which includes Mikal Cronin on bass/vocals, Charlie Moothart on guitar and Emily Rose Epstein on drums] sound is a pastiche of 1970’s garage psyche mixed with 90’s alternative; stylistically, hints of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd could be heard in the guitar playing while influences of Beck were noticeable during percussive breakdowns. Segall’s energy was as infectious as his visible enjoyment for playing guitar; and he did so everywhere he could — playing to audience, band members, against his amplifier and even taking to the audience for a crowd surfing guitar solo during the encore. And Ty wasn’t alone in the crowd surfing, as fans, members of opening act La Luz and even Jimmy Longhorn could be seen obstructing the stage sight-lines throughout the night. In fact, Ty specifically requested the audience to pass Longhorn to the rear and back; in which, the audience successfully obliged.
The show was packed with songs-after-song off Segall’s brand new double album, Manipulator, from the title track to “Tall Man Skinng Lady”, “It’s Over,” “Feel” and “The Crawler.” Older tracks like “Oh Mary,” “I Bought My Eyes,” and “You’re The Doctor” surfaced. After a brief encore break, the band took the stage dawning ski masks and Ty announce, “This is the end!” On cue, the band busted into The Doors’ “The End” then abrutly morphed into the show closing “Wave Goodbye.”
Ty Segall’s enthusiasm, stage energy and pure inventiveness will serve him well down the road. In many ways, his performance is in the vein of a young Beck Hansen. And just like Beck, it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing him playing in tiny club like Turf Club in the very near future. Regardless, if there is any validity to the story, thanks for bringing The Manipulator Band down to Earth Jimmy Longhorn.