Ty Segall & the Muggers Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, March 3

Ty Segall & the Muggers Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, March 3
Photo: Luke Orlando
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Few people can hypnotize a crowd quite like Ty Segall. Since the release of his self-titled debut back in 2008, Segall has developed a reputation for being a garage-rock whiz kid, his playful live shows and critically acclaimed albums chock-full of theatrical antics and rollicking riffs. Touring in support of his latest (and arguably weirdest) release, Emotional Mugger, Segall and his all-star backing band made sure to live up to everyone's high expectations.
 
Segall and co. took to the scene at around 11:30, guitarist Kyle Thomas (aka King Tuff) wearing an orange jumpsuit and armed with an orange guitar at the side of Segall, who was wearing an unquestionably creepy bald baby mask. With the blank, plastic eyes of the mask staring out into the crowd, the band launched directly into "Squealer," the opening track off Emotional Mugger, managing to up the ante right from the start. Segall leaned into the crowd, twirling his fingers in delight as dozens of hands reached out to touch him.
 
Sliding into "Californian Hills" and then "Emotional Mugger/Leopard Princess," it was clear that the band would be going through their latest LP track by track. Before launching into "Breakfast Eggs," Segall ripped off his mask and screamed "J'adore le petit déjeuner!" to the Montreal crowd. He yelled it over and over, the crowd screaming along, until he finally announced "I want my eggs everyday!," as the Muggers took the cue and filled the hall with the song's erratic opening.
 
Known for making his shows participatory, Segall began walking out into the crowd, the audience holding him up by his shoes. When he eventually dropped into the fray, a mosh-pit formed around him and he got a few eager fans to sing along to "Diversion" before climbing back up, sweaty hair shrouding his face. Pulling a crowd surfer out of the pack shortly after the end of "Candy Sam," Segall announced that the band would like to perform "a safety exercise," adding, "We like to promote healthcare and safety awareness at shows, because safety is important!" Told to crowd surf to the back of the venue to give the bartender a handshake, and then to surf all the way back, the slightly confused girl took the task to heart, completing it quickly with the help of the enthusiastic crowd.
 
While the first part of the set was a high-octane trip into the warped world of Ty Segall's new, strange personas — the emotional mugger, the leopard princess, Candy Sam — the latter half was defined by older material off Twins, as Segall let Mikal Cronin and King Tuff do most of the work. The group ended on a high note with their short but heavy encore, Ty Segall & the Muggers making sure to bring it back full-circle, keeping the weird alive until the end.