Words & Images: Kieran Webber
Before we start this review I want to make it absolutely clear that I am some what of a mega fan of Ty Segall, so I was always going to enjoy the show. However, what Ty Segall & The Freedom Band bought to the 02 Forum Kentish Town had me in absolute awe. Collectively they shook the venue to it’s very foundation, with an onslaught of riffs, screeches and howls. The night can be summed up as a concussive explosion of sound that erupted through North London. It was everything and more of what I expected from the innovative Californian rocker, he proved that he is a rock god worthy of the likes of Sabbath, Zeppelin and Hawkwind.
The band came to rock and roll and that is exactly what they did, no gimmicks, no pretentious backdrop and no posing for the audience. Their simple yet inviting stage presence created the atmosphere similar to watching your mates jam out in their garage. As an audience you are invited to rock out with five dudes who are fully enjoying their music. As a band they were tight as a ducks behind, with each member vital to the bands overall sound. Cronin was ever the bass man, holding them together and even opted for sax at one point, Moothart bashed the skins like a wildman and Kelly and Boye provided a solid rhythm section that bounced nicely off Ty’s ever bending and whirling tangents.
They kicked things off with ‘Wave Goodbye’ the thumping riff focused track from ‘Slaughterhouse’. The pure rawness of this track set the tone for the rest of night, coming in strong to every note from beginning to end. Following this was the eclectic, fan favourite ‘Fanny Dog’ and ‘Finger’.
We were treated to such a brilliant setlist, throughout the night there was something for every fan of Ty, matching his many personalities and sounds. From the schizophrenic and ever evolving ‘Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)’ to the bouncing garage rock dance track ‘Despoiler of Cadaver’. Across the expansive collection of music there were moments of real magic, especially with the cover of Hot Chocolates’ ‘Every 1’s A Winner’ which set the audience a flame. There were also some tracks I really didn’t expect to hear such as ‘Goodbye Bread’ and the electrifying ‘Cherry Red’, both tracks were welcome surprises.
However, among the chaos and the head-banging came moments of near tranquility especially during ‘My Lady’s On Fire’ and ‘Alta’. Each track brought the audience to a stand still and saw some people busting out the lighters. It proves that Ty has the ability to not only create monstrous riffs and tangent filled jams but some deeply heartfelt tracks that are draped in emotion.
The night had been a true raucous adventure and the crowd were ever eager for more, to say Ty and The Freedom Band gave 100% wouldn’t do them justice. They put there very souls into this show. The beautiful rendition of ‘And, Goodnight’, an extended version of ‘Sleeper’ closed off the night, but it wasn’t enough. The band returned for a rare encore (a privilege not many have seen this tour) and belted out the frantic ‘She’. The riff came in so hard it nearly blew the fucking curtains off the Forum and threw the crowd into a frenzy thanks to the bombastic riff and screeches from Ty.
I was left in complete shock, thrown by what I had just witnessed. Ty Segall & The Freedom Band may just be the best rock band walking the planet right now. I feel privileged to have shared this gig with so many people, thank you Ty and thank you London.
Special thanks to Bird On The Wire for the opportunity!