We split town last Wednesday night to check out The Togas at Nobby's in St. Augustine. The Togas are a cover band that Ty Segall put together with Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the Clams, Philip Sambol from The Strange Boys, and Lance Willie of Reigning Sound. They formed The Togas to play Rock and Roll covers for The Bruise Cruise, a garage rock theme cruise.
We caught them at Nobby's on their way back from Miami. It was their fourth show. Nobby's is a place that one yelper aptly describes as "y'all like ta drive by a bar at 3:00pm on a monday and see a guy passed out lyin' halfway onto the sidewalk? hay y'all: it's nobby's". The venue for what went down was ideal.
If you're a Ty Segall fan then the song selection, the name The Togas, and the fact that the band wore Animal House style togas and Ty lead the crowd in "Toga! Toga! Toga!" chants between each song will make total sense to you. Their sentiment is a combination of total reverence for Rock and Roll from the 50s and 60s, along with punk, along with what Ty and Shannon are doing now. It's a blend that they've managed to make sound fresh despite working in an idiom that's been maturing for sixty years now.
I couldn't have chosen a better setlist if I had gotten to pick the songs. Highlights included "96 Tears" by ? Mark and the Mysterians, "Runaway" by Del Shannon, "All Day and All of the Night" by The Kinks (see video above), and "Helter Skelter".
At one point Ty surfed into the crowd with his guitar, grabbed the disco ball and sucked on it in some sort of sarcophagus pose. That was during the middle of a drawn-out "Louie Louie". The band slowed the tempo as Ty ripped the disco ball from the ceiling and threw it at my comrade Lev. Lev managed to block it with his right hand, but he got sliced and blood squirted into the cute girl's face standing next to him. Back on the ground Ty turned the volume knob on his geetar up and launched into a minute of ripping a bend on the same note over and over while the crowd sang along to the chorus. "Louie Louie, Oh baby now, we gotta go."
This really wasn't a cover band. It was more like going to see The Byrds play a Dylan set. Hopefully this won't be a one time thing. If it was, we're glad we caught it.