On Sunday evening, Ty Segall closed the last of three shows at the Teragram Ballroom with his Freedom Band promoting his new album Freedom’s Goblin. With the long, organic come-up that he has experienced, Segall continues to establish himself as a local legend after releasing his 10th studio album at the age of 30. For his fans, it is his consistent, prolific output of lo-fi, fast-paced rock music that has made his ascent exciting to watch.
Lamps, a local rock outfit with Segall’s wife Denee as the bassist, opened the show. Their primitive, high-energy sound featured an aggression with which Segall’s audience is quite familiar. It is no secret that Segall is an icon in the California garage rock scene, but this elevated status did not discourage him from setting up his own stage afterward.
Segall, at first glance, was unassuming in his role as a guitar-wielding savior. The baby-faced frontman smiled widely at his bandmates and nonchalantly tuned his guitar as the audience watched with baited breath. He lowered his head enough to where his face was hidden behind his shoulder-length hair, and he loudly strummed the opening chords to “Alta” to the delight of his fans. He then followed the Freedom’s Goblin deep cut with a crowd-pleasing ballad about his beloved pup with “Fanny Dog.”
The biggest question at every one of Segall’s shows is how long it will take for the mosh pit to form, and on Sunday the answer was three songs. The crowd wasted no time upping the energy once Segall’s band got to the first instrumental drop in “Finger.” From that point on, the crowd’s energy was synced with the band, swaying to more cuts and moshing to aggressive garage jams.
Though he is most known for the hot, muddy rock music that gave him his start, Segall’s versatility as a musician was clearly on display that night. In one set, he managed to simultaneously channel Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop with his unique mix of songwriting chops and stage presence.
Moreover, Segall’s band boasted an incredibly talented lineup, with bassist Mikal Cronin occasionally switching to saxophone for the latter half of the set. Cronin, drummer Charles Mootheart and guitarist Emmett Kelly all have prolific careers outside of the band as well. Segall and his band have fun too, engaging in a tongue-in-cheek “vocal experiment” that featured three of them nailing an extremely dissident melody.
Toward the end of the set, Segall gave a shout-out to his newlywed friends who were in attendance. He wished them the best and reiterated his love for them before playing his love ballad single from Freedom’s Goblin, “My Lady’s on Fire.” The song features a killer saxophone solo performed by Cronin, who wore a smile during the entire performance.
As the set closed, Segall and the Freedom Band came out to the most exciting encore an audience could hope for. The group played a medley of classic rock songs, most notably Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.’s “Walk This Way,” The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
When the show ended, ears were ringing and bodies were somewhat bruised, but everyone left with smiles on their faces. The night provided a perfect send-off for the Laguna Beach native as he embarks on tour, and his fans should be plenty excited for a homecoming performance in the future.