Review: Ty Segall and the Freedom Band take on Lincoln Theatre

Last Saturday, April 27th, Ty Segall took to the Lincoln Theatre stage and woke up his mature audience with a series of greatest hits from his discography. The performance, which combined waves of high and low energy, successfully married his folk-rock tunes with his more hard rock bangers. The San Francisco musician showed off his talent with the accompaniment of the Freedom Band, whose members consist of bassist Mikal Cronin, keyboardist Ben Boye, Emmett Kelly on guitar, and newest member drummer Evan Burrows. Segall himself also dabbled in a wicked guitar performance alongside his vocals. The show was in the wake of Segall’s newest album release Three Bells, which came out in January. 

Prior to Segall’s appearance, Sharpie Smile hit the ground running with their wacky and intriguing performance. The group has just gone through a rebranding; changing their name and adding new members. The previously known Kamikaze Palm Tree have embraced keyboardist Sophie Shely and guitarist Rayla Delanova, alongside the original members lead singer and drummer Dylan Hadley and Cole Berliner on guitar. Their sound was noisy and abrupt but also leaned into the ethereal, with influence from psychedelic rock like Segall. The four seemed very attuned to each other, with the funky outputs from each instrument melding together successfully. Their intriguing sound was matched with Hadley’s wacky dancing; she was able to move, sing, and drum all at once, which alone was impressionable. For one track Berliner began playing a steel pedal guitar; this bluegrass instrument did not take away from the rock elements of the music but helped it morph into a more psychedelic folk setting. The curious band helped set up Segall’s entrance with their groovy presence and niche sound. 

Segall cracked off his setlist with four back-to-back tracks off Three Bells. This new album returned more to Segall’s roots with a heavy emphasis on garage rock. With these four songs, the audience were able to really appreciate and enclose themselves in the album’s opening. Half of his entire set was this album, with the track ‘My Room’ receiving a particularly well-rounded response. For a man with such a large discography, it was surprising that the setlist was so overwhelmed by this one album. After this start, the tempo and heavy rock were picked up with a transition towards some of his earlier work including the track ‘Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess’. He triumphantly covered all extremities of the rock genre, perhaps hitting the peak with ‘Waxman’, the challenging sound echoed around the theater in quite a hostile manner. Elsewhere, Emmett Kelly was able to show off his skill on ‘Looking at You’ which included an impressive guitar solo which Segall let Kelly take the spotlight for. 

The encore was overcrowded by nostalgia as he came back with a heavier rendition of perhaps his most renowned song ‘My Lady’s on Fire’. Sadly, the song’s length left the performance quite fleeting but alas successfully left the viewer wanting more. Segall rarely sticks to the same set list and thus this unknown added an exciting apprehension to the final song. Segall typically ends with ‘Melted’, however, here we were graced with ‘Imaginary Person’, which is off the same 2010 album. The track seemed a little random amongst the bangers that came before, but it did not disappoint, again the song reminded the audience of Segall’s garage rock and noise roots. 

Segall, the man of very few words, had an extremely understated performance where he simply strolled on stage, stood to the side, giving the Freedom Band their fair share of appreciation, and strolled off again. But none of this took away from his talent and performance. He seems to be an approachable man with an intimidating discography. The charming setting of Lincoln Theatre was the perfect contrast to Segall’s dominating sound. 

To see him in more interesting locations Segall has 13 more spots on his tour, so catch before his travels end!

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