Growler’s frontman, Brooks Nielsen singing on stage at Mohawk in Austin on September 30.

Gettin’ Down with the Growlers

By Caroline Janes
Music Journalist

After seven years of their annual Beach Goth Festival, The Growlers announced their Beach Goth Tour earlier this summer.

The California natives coordinate this festival and have headlined it just about every year. Although the festival has faced challenges and backlash in years past, it has overall been highly successful. After the festival this year, that featured bands such as The Voidz; The Drums and Beach Goons, the Growlers decided to continue touring. The Beach Goth tour spans over several months and they will be playing venues all over the United States as well in Europe; taking the stage by storm with the high-energy performances. On Sept. 30, The Growlers played in Austin at Mohawk and I had to privilege of seeing these guys rock out live.

The Growlers are a surf-garage rock classic and certainly have made a name for themselves because of their talent and hard work throughout the years. Their sound is eclectic and polished. For me, their sound is totally reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ track “Old Yellow Bricks.”

With several albums under their belt, the band has a wide variety of songs in their repertoire, and they play tracks off of every single one of their albums! This makes for a great show for old and new fans alike. Playing songs off of multiple albums is always something that I find endearing, and it’s also something I have yearned for at other bands’ shows. Even if a band is touring for a specific album fans want to hear the older songs too!

The set opened with the track “Hiding Under Covers,” clad in matching black and white uniforms, that featured an upside down cross and stars, the band made a solid first impression from the start. The stage itself had big cardboard cut-outs of flames that mimicked the flames on the band’s pants.

The first night sold out, just as many of their shows on the rest of the tour have thus far. The band played at Mohawk two nights in a row, and drew huge crowds both nights. The crowd was dancing and grooving along the whole show; some fans in the back were even urging lead singer, Brooks Nielsen, to “turn it up!”

The band didn’t miss a beat the entire show. The transitions between the songs were seamless so that the entire performance was a continuous smooth jam session. Their songs transitioned perfectly to a live performance and sounded just as good as the recorded tracks. There’s something so special about live music that even the most polished albums just can’t capture. It’s such a unique feeling to really experience the emotion and energy behind each song along with the artist that has carefully crafted each track. Their moody, accusing melodies are executed perfectly in the harmonies between frontman Nielsen and the lead guitarist Matt Taylor–founding members of the band. Overall, the band has great chemistry on stage and it seemed like they were having a blast. Nielsen enthralled the crowd with his light banter and Elvis-esque risqué hip movements and pelvic thrusts.

“Vacant Lot” brought a hard rockin’ grungy energy to the crowd that transitioned well into the next track “City Club” that made for a nonstop groove on stage. Nielsen even switched out the lyrics in “Problems III” to“Remember when we met at the old Prospector” for “at the old Mohawk Bar,” which was met by heavy enthusiasm for the beloved Austin venue.

As traditions go, they did an encore that featured “I’ll be Around” and “Going Gets Tough.” Nielsen closed the show by thanking the fans and encouraging everyone to buy their opening act’s merch and requested that everyone to cut the nipple holes in the shirts.

He truly knows how to go out with a bang.

Featured Photo by Sarah Thibodeaux.

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