By Alan RantaTouring together in support of their collaborative album Hair, but performing separately, Ty Segall and Tim Presley's White Fence turned the Waldorf into a surging sauna.
While the fuzzy psych pop and spiritual folk rock musings of White Fence's 2011 album Is Growing Faith come off rather detached on record, their live renditions tapped directly into the soul of garage rock and punk. The rhythm guitar, drums and bass locked into heady grooves, allowing Presley to solo with abandon when not oozing his lysergic lyrics through two mics drenched in reverb and echo. Altogether, the group were hypnotic yet driving, psychedelic yet controlled, as their energy bounced off the walls in the cramped space, building to a near frenzy. Moshing started at a stumbling velocity at the beginning of White Fence's set and quickly swelled into vigorous shoving, with one gentleman getting flipped right onto his head in his attempt to crowd surf.
Dedicating his set to touring bassist Mikal Cronin, who couldn't make it across the border, Ty Segall's impromptu power trio put their finger on the rim of the champagne bottle and shook it for all it was worth. They took the vibe to a more thrashy, lo-fi rock place than White Fence, which fuelled the mosh pit's fire, sending head-bangers and fist-pumpers crisscrossing across the room and dozens more hipsters ass over teakettle.
Cheating the view of his axe away from the crowd like some old-school tap dancer attempting to hide his technique, Segall can sure play a mean guitar, and he has one hell of a stage presence. During a vicious solo, Segall leaned backwards over the crowd and was passed along the front row. Later, he gave his vintage blue guitar to someone on the floor, and dove courageously over the crowd with the mic stand. During their choice cover of "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, Segall switched instruments with the bassist so he could jam out the iconic bass line for a measure or two.
Importantly, none of the aforementioned moves appeared calculated. Instead, Segall seemed to be feeding off the pressurized vibe of the space and time in which he found himself. Both Segall and White Fence's music was wrought with a sense of urgency, and the sweltering sweatbox setting of the sold-out Waldorf perfectly suited the music, making this evening feel like a very real and unforgettable moment.