Preaching the gospel of garage rock, prolific artist Ty Segall performed his latest, and most ambitious album, Freedom’s Goblin, to a sweaty contingent of keen Toronto crowd surfers.
The atmosphere was suitably charged at the Danforth Music Hall as on-stage smoke machines created a thick aura of ‘70s era-riffs and good-hearted bedlam. With the lights having dimmed and rapturous applause having bestowed the California native, the guitar slinging Segall and his band unleashed a mix of new material and fan favourites. Combining a sonic melting-pot of T. Rex, Syd Barret’s Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath, the evening emerged as psychedelic oil projection for the ears.
As a performer, the cherub-faced Segall fixated on every note while simultaneously sustaining an air of danger. Stoking the flames, his voice regularly switched between quiet vibrato to piercing screams, setting in motion a wave of moshing below. In fact, it was during the second song, Fanny Dog that the crowd erupted. During its enthralling performance, those who opted out of its never-ending dance party continued to headbang in support of solidarity.
Thrashing to their heart’s content, the evening’s set-list was interspersed with extended jams as Segall’s band featuring Mikal Cronin (bass), Charles Moothart (drums), Emmett Kelly (guitar), and Ben Boye (piano) all took their cues from their golden-haired leader. Noisy with an edge of fuzz tone, their loud brand of rock music was wonderful to witness, especially in a venue as intimate as the Danforth Music Hall. Having released a full-length record almost every year since 2008, Ty Segall has fashioned himself one of the most singular and extensive careers in music. As his Toronto performance proved, he’s the real deal.