Today, Orange County rocker Ty Segall drops his 10th solo studio album, Freedom’s Goblin. The 75-mintue, 19-track opus was recorded with Segall’s excellent Freedom Band and finds the singer, guitarist, and songwriter once again expanding the punk/garage/rock foundation he’s spent the last decade building.
Where his 2017 self-titled release did a nice job marrying fuzzed-out psych rockers and frenetic head-nodders with things like vocal harmonies and Dead-like jams, Freedom’s Goblin takes that baton and runs with it.
Recorded at five different studios, Segall’s new one tackles everything from funk to ballads and beyond, all while channeling The Beatles, Bolan, and The Band in equal measure. And, of course, still bringing enough heat to melt faces.
The album was on full display Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd for the band’s tour opener at Belly Up.
Taking the stage shortly before 10 p.m. and dressed in all white, Segall and the Freedom Band (pianist Ben Boye, guitarist Emmett Kelly, bassist Mikal Cronin, and drummer Charles Moothart) delivered a scorching, 95-minute set every bit as engaging as it was varied.
Sticking mostly to cuts from Freedom’s Goblin, Segall and his cohorts ripped through the electric funk of Hot Chocolate’s Every 1’s A Winner and Sabbath-meets-Mingus rocker She with ferocity, and highlighted the addition of saxophone on album cuts like The Main Pretender and Talkin 3.
The quintet also handled the slower, 70s AM vibes of My Lady’s On Fire and the 12-plus minutes of slow-burning album-closer And Goodnight with surprising dexterity.
While not all of Freedom Goblin’s songs made it into the setlist on Wednesday night, when the band did go back in the catalog, it wasn’t very far. They also blasted through a handful of the best tracks from Segall’s 2017 self-titled album, which he also recorded with the Freedom Band.
Standouts like the epic, tempo-schizophrenic jamming of Warm Hands (Freedom Returned) and relentless chug of The Only One were perfect partners to the extensive helping of new album tunes.
Chalk it up to playing/writing/touring together for the last couple of albums/years, but Segall and the Freedom Band have expanded their pallet and hit their stride at the same time.
At nearly 20 songs and well over an hour runtime, Freedom’s Goblin could’ve gotten mired in its own expansiveness. But if the new live show is any indication, it’s likely going to serve as Segall’s running high-water-mark. And as the band continues on its 24-date run through April, the live show is sure to only get (scarily) better.
Segall has now made consecutive stops at the Belly Up over the last three years/albums. Let’s hope next year is no exception.