Ty Segall at the Roundhouse, 28/06/24

Garage rocker Ty Segall lets his guitar do the talking with face-melting proto-metal set

“Through the mirror, you see clearer,” Ty Segall foretells with a spooky warble on ‘Void’, an acid-drenched, Alice In Wonderland-esque lyric that shares more in common with Glastonbury Festival’s former life rather than the all-encompassing global pop event it’s evolved into these days. Likely why it was no issue prizing the London Roundhouse crowd away from their television screens on a Friday night in favour of a Ty’s transportive psychedelic rock set – it felt like more of a throwback to the 1970 Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music which inspired Michael Eavis’ festival behemoth to begin with. 

Taking to the stage as a five-piece band, trusted players in bassist Mikal Cronin and guitarist Emmett Kelly locked in to Ty’s crunchy groove from the off, weaving through the opening four tracks to Ty’s recent album, Three Bells. Situated to the right of new recruit in Wand drummer Evan Burrows, lonesome guitar-slinger Ty was at his lubricated best, requiring little encouragement to shred at any given moment. Tonight was one for the guitar heroes, 1800 head-bangers – from multiple generations – offering their utmost encouragement throughout a set littered with instrumental breakdowns and solos. 

Riffs were expectedly aplenty, though interaction with the crowd was typically scant – bursting eardrums was evidently the port of call. Ty has never been the kind of character to enforce banter, instead plumping for Can-like noodling interludes that audibly resembled humpback whalesong in between tracks. Consistently veiled by his trademark blonde flowing locks, the only glimpse the audience got of Ty was when he flung his head back mid-shred.

The San Fransican’s vocals were at their eerie, spectral best on ‘Goodbye Bread’, a rare moment of introspection amid the proto-metal madness, the intricate harmonies seeing Ty deliver an accurate and affectionate Beatles tribute. ‘Whisper’, fan favourite in ‘Girlfriend’, and ‘My Room’ resumed service however, a doomy, slowed-down rendition of ‘Love Fuzz’ further amplifying the fuzz and sludge. There was little relief from the wall of sound, and thankfully so. 

“How’s everyone doing? Thanks for having us,” Segall softly muttered towards the tail end of the set. “This one’s about my best friend”. Of course, Ty was referring to his song ‘My Best Friend’, written about his two dachshunds Fanny and Herman. More artists should write odes to their dogs. It was the most visibly emotive he’d been all night, grinning throughout, whilst various members of the audience either pogoed or pulled out photos of their own pups. An outlier from his LSD-laced recent album, it’s an oddity at the epicentre of a reverb-laden whirlwind. 

Channelling Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain’ sensuality on jam-heavy closer ‘Denée’, Ty returned to feverish fanfare for an encore of the ever-anthemic ‘My Lady’s On Fire’, and ‘Melted’ from his very first album. It was uniquely strange not seeing phones aloft throughout the gig, a testament to the immersive musicianship of Segall and his band. It was a trip.

Ty Segall plays the Old Market in Hove on 2 September. Find tickets here

Photo credit: Robin Little/Redferns