Tracking the output of garage rock guru Ty Segall is becoming increasingly difficult. With his frequently expanding list of side projects and guest appearances, Segall has affirmed himself as a reliable force in music today, as with every release he aims to keep not only the audience attentive, but himself as well. Between 2013’s reflective and folk-y Sleeper, and 2014’s hyper-focused rock album Manipulator, Segall has done a solid job keeping everyone’s attention. Reflecting on his own productivity, Segall once mused in a 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly, that “every day while everybody’s working, I’m at home… and I’m not going to sit around and play videos games all day, so I just started writing music.” The sheer size of his discography is impressive for anyone, let alone a 29-year old dude from California. However, referring to bands such as Fuzz, Epsilons, and now GØGGS, his newest band, as merely side projects would not give any of these groups, or the collection of artists that inhabit them, justice. Additionally, referring to GØGGS purely as “Segall’s project” would also not give frequent creative collaborator Charles Moothart (also of Fuzz) and Ex-Cult’s Chris Shaw, who complete GØGGS’s trio, enough credit as well, for each lends their own unique style and direction to a band that hopefully will not consist of just this one album.
On Friday, July 22, GØGGS performed a commanding set in front of a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade. Featuring Shaw on vocals, Moothart and Segall steadily alternating between guitar and drums, and Michael Anderson accompanying on bass (Anderson is the a guitarist in Moothart’s band, CFM), the band provided the packed crowd a solid performance that reflects the high-energy shows of 1970’s and 80’s hardcore acts like Minor Threat and Minutemen, racked with short, fast-paced, guitar-centric songs that easily, and quickly, rile up a crowd. Promoting their debut self-titled album released July 1 via In the Red, GØGGS made their first Brooklyn appearance a memorable one, not just because of the insane heat dome berating us outside, but because this particular group of musicians performed a remarkably tight and energetic show. The opening support from Cheena and Surfbort, two New York City-based garage rock and punk groups, respectively, served as appropriate lead ups to GØGGS, as well. With Cheena’s straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll, and Surfbort’s unapologetic and confrontational punk, both bands did a great job warming up the crowd with two consistent sets.
Starting the show with five minutes of blistering and hazy feedback while the band prepped backstage, GØGGS’s live sound combined the dense and distorted sludge of the Melvins with the intensity and rawness of Segall’s 2012 Slaughterhouse release. Invoking the stage presence of a Black Flag-era Henry Rollins, the lead vocalist, Shaw, took full control of the audience not only with his demanding demeanor, but with his chemistry with the audience that included jaunts into the crowd as well as a properly-executed stage dive. With every proceeding track played this evening, GØGGS obliterated the connotation that hearing live punk and garage rock is usually a sloppy endeavor. Even as Segall and Moothart switched between guitar and drums, the transitions were seamless as both are solid at each in their own right. As a whole, each member of the band proved to be effective musicians that gave up neither showmanship or efficiently for the other.
Tapping in at less than 40 minutes, the brevity of the set was not of much concern to the growing excitement of the audience, as the band included almost zero banter between songs, unless counting the intentional feedback that cloaked the venue. Ripping through tracks off their debut album like “Shotgun Shooter” and “She Got Harder,” GØGGS’s set properly tore through the red-dimmed room as a strobe light highlighted every move from this all but static band.