Mondays, being deadline days, are usually long, and this past Monday seemed especially so. That's because I spent all day nervously eyeing the clock in anticipation of the Ty Segall show at Trinosophes that night. Segall's on the top of the rock 'n' roll game right now, I loved his new record
, and heck, he's even played on Conan
. I'd never been to Trinosophes, but this seemed like just the occasion for it. I split out of the office the nanosecond all editorial was sent to the printer.
If you haven't been, Trinosophes is a cool art gallery and performance space with some great, left-field events lined up
that lean toward avant-garde jazz. I highly urge all readers to check it out posthaste. They do brunch! Combined with the efforts of the folks over at the the Inner State Gallery
, they're the anchors of a revitalized Gratiot, and I do appreciate what they're doing.
I have no clue why they booked Ty Segall, though.
Sure, the show itself was fantastic. Segall and his band were in fine form, Manipulator
's lush songs translated great stripped down, the jams were solid, the kids were into it, et cetera, et cetera.
The problem, though, is Trinosophes is basically a coffee house that's the size of a small airplane hangar. That means that the booze situation operated in something of a gray area, and signs posted indicated that the venue was not selling beer or wine. I don't even really like drinking anymore to be honest — my metabolism seems to be changing the closer I get to 30 — but the thought of enjoying rock 'n' roll beer-less seemed ... wrong. I've never felt more like an alcoholic than when I texted a friend telling him that he was on the list, and to bring beer.
A look at Segall's tour itinerary
doesn't reveal any particular Fugazi-like preference for alternative performance spaces. His next gig is in a venue in Omaha that will also host shows by the War on Drugs and the Dandy Warhols — a normal rock venue by all accounts. So why doesn't he play a normal rock venue in Detroit? We have plenty of them. The last time he played Detroit, on a bill with fellow San Francisco rockers Thee Oh Sees, was under a circus-like tent temporarily built next to PJ's Lager House. Is the Magic Stick really so bad?
This, coupled with the venue's decidedly un-sexy art gallery lighting, made for a "vibe" that could be described in no other way other than "off." At one point the overhead lighting turned on in the middle of a song and I mildly freaked out, expecting a SWAT team to raid the joint and pin me to the ground, confiscating my illicit Hamm's.
So much in Detroit seems to operate in a gray area — which, in a way, I love. Theatre Bizarre before the city shut it down was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Funk Night at the CAID was the place to be when I was in college — before it got raided by police. (My editor noticed Detroit's love affair with all things "quasi" as soon as she moved here, and it's become something of a running gag
on her Twitter.)
But after a long day at work, is it so much to ask for a cold one while checking out a band? My friend Chelsea — a seasoned rock show veteran in her own right — summed up the problem with rock shows at Trinosophes succinctly: "If you're going to be gray, be a solid GRAY. Don't be off-white."