Words by Piran Aston
The American multi-instrumentalist and famed rock god Ty Segall bought his Freedom Band to Manchester’s Gorilla. After releasing his standout 11th record Freedom’s Goblin earlier this year, he’s been touring non-stop across Europe, with this venue possibly his most intimate yet.
Solo artist Mike Donovan opened proceedings for the evening. The lesser known act provided a set showcasing his wide-reaching talents, playing songs with an acoustic guitar and crooning over sublime melodies. The second part of his set had Donovan take a seat with a synth, playing a few tracks on piano, before switching the tempo and moving into a much more dance-centred set. Using his iPhone to play a drum track with a series of sweeping synths, Donovan was able to blend acoustic music with electronic sounds in a unique way to bring about a fantastic watch and listen.
Segall’s Gorilla entrance is in a flurry of psych rock-n-roll, opening with the seminal and dark ‘Wave Goodbye’. The track was the perfect opener, setting the tone for a sweaty and rowdy night of crowd surfers, rock ballads, psych craze and more. ‘Fanny Dog’ was the first offering of the night from his latest release Freedom’s Goblin. Even with the album recently released, eager fans were desperate to let loose. You turn your head behind you and everything’s a blur: crazed, drunk teens going bat-shit crazy for a psych icon. ‘Finger’ from 2010 record Melted had cheers and screams within the first few chords. The crowd bellowing the chorus, Ty stared into the crowd with a beaming grin encouraging the crowd to sing louder and louder each time, which they gladly obliged. A trio of tracks from Emotional Mugger followed – ‘Squealer’, ‘Candy Sam’, ‘Breakfast Eggs’ were all met with a joyous approval from the already sweat-soaked crowd.
Possibly one of the standout moments of the evening was Ty’s rendition of Hot Chocolates ‘Every 1’s a Winner’. A delicious riff, Ty’s higher pitched vocals, and a danceable beat had the crowd jumping for joy, screaming not just the lyrics, but the chords as well. The career-spanning set gave a glimpse into the many musical styles of Ty. The funk grooves of ‘Despoiler of Cadaver’ and the slow burning ‘Goodbye Bread’ further showcased his diverse sounds. The psych rock exploration continued with songs like ‘Ghost’ with its bruising riffs and ‘Caesar’ with its classic sounding ballads and rock’n’roll-styled riffs. The psych rock extravaganza ‘Love Fuzz’ began to signal the end of a sweaty and crazed night of music but the slower pace towards the end of the set wasn’t enough to stop the crowd from going mental. The acoustic singalong ‘Sleeper’ was a fantastic way to close proceedings for the evening – a huge singalong and hands in the air.
Ty Segall has yet again shown the world why he is one of the most underappreciated acts around. Phenomenal live, music that grabs you within seconds and a true range of versatility showcases his passion for music of all kinds. His electric live shows and die-hard fanbase only add to the deranged energy and atmosphere.
Photos: Piran Aston – for more, see our photo gallery here.