The Growlers - Live At Beach Goth 2015: Review
Tue, 08 Dec 2015 12:12:41
(October 25th, 2015. Santa Ana, CA) What is Beach Goth? No words could better describe the tunes that Southern California based band, The Growlers write and perform. Thick with reverb and dowsed in melancholy lyrics sang by Brooks Nielsen's uniquely raspy voice, the band is the perfect soundtrack for a dark stormy day at the beach. What started as a description of a band's sound grew into a festival that touts a love for the bizarre and off-kilter.
For four years running The Growlers have hosted the Beach Goth festival, an eclectic event at The Observatory in Orange County, where the band members hail from. This year found the festival hosting more attendees and established artists than ever before. Die Antwoord, Grimes, Mac DeMarco, Eagles of Death Metal, and many more well known musicians took the stage with The Growlers, who played headline sets on both Saturday and Sunday night.
Beach Goth is a sanctuary in the conservative town of Orange County, best known for its fictional TV show, its plastic "Real Housewives" and its rich Laguna Beach high schoolers. Beach Goth is a shot of alternative electricity that is sorely needed in the suburban bubble. Attendees are encouraged to dress in costumes and reveal their most twisted and dramatic sides. Rising to the occasion, The Growlers stepped onto the main stage on Sunday in full platinum man outfits, sprayed from head to toe with silver paint, after being introduced by a spot on Cyndi Lauper impersonator and a real-life wobbly Pauly Shore.
With a carnival-like melody blasting from the sound system, the crowd cheered with true adoration as The Growlers, also composed of Matt Taylor (lead guitar), Scott Montoya (drums), Anthony Braun Perry (bass) and Kyle Straka (keyboards, guitar), began playing "One Million Lovers" off of their 2013 album Hung at Heart. Later, to piercing screams from the audience, Julian Casablancas (who had played a set earlier in the day with his band The Voidz) joined The Growlers on stage for a cover of The Doors' "People Are Strange" a fitting tune for the occasion.
The Growlers' best asset is their ability to expertly fit many different styles of music into their particular sound. Though every song they played rang as quintessentially "The Growlers" there was something unique to each tune. One song may have a spaghetti western twang to it while the next quivers with Roy Orbison-esque timelessness, but all the songs had a cohesive thread running through them.
As the show drew to a close, Nielsen asked the audience what song they wanted to hear to close out The Growlers' encore set. With reverb turned-up to 11, the band dove into the sweetly pessimistic surf-rock song, "Love Test." Fans knew every word, swaying and dancing to the melodic tune that seemed to be a sort of lullaby for the tired crowd who were coming to the end of the two-day festival. "Goodnight, Friend," Nielsen said as the band waved goodbye and walked off stage.
This year Beach Goth was nearly busting at the seams with attendees and the festival's creativity and line-up was the best yet. The Growlers have created an event as unique as their own sound and just as band seems to be on the precipice of something greater, so does the festival. Only 52 weeks until next year's Beach Goth. Let the countdown begin.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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