The Growlers have seen a drastic increase in popularity with the release of their new album City Club, establishing an aesthetic that not only works for them but also for the troves of fans that showed up at Trees to one of their many sold out shows.
The venue quickly became packed, a whole row of which sported the same white “Beach Goth V” tee, the festival The Growlers host each year in California. The fans here were devoted to the self-coined sound, and the nervous excitement was palpable while waiting two and a half hours for the band to enter. Word had quickly spread that the opener, Acid Carousel, was suddenly dropped from the tour with no alternative. Many fans choose to sit down and chat during this time, some even opting for a quick nap. “I have a 7 AM tomorrow, what can I say?” one girl said, shrugging and disappearing into the crowd to catch some shut eye.
I wiggled my fingers under the curtain as the minutes following the promised showtime seem eternal and am greeted with a wiggle back from a member – the cheekiness immediately continued as frontman Nielsen rips the curtains open and begins with “Old Cold River”, a rarer song off of their first album. As the performance began, it was clear the band was still not ready as crew members scrambled to find set lists and the guitarist, Matt Taylor, struggled with the sound cutting out. After two songs of fumbling, the fun began.
The crowd’s energy was a force to be reckoned with, as a mosh pit surprisingly began to form to “Gay Thoughts.” Beach balls were being thrown, knocking over a few mic stands in the process. Multiple fans make their way to the stage for crowd-surfing, many of which chose to stay and dance with Brooks or even opt for a kiss. The Growlers are flattered but clearly irked as they motion several times to send the never ending surge of crowd-surfers back from which they came. It came to the fans’ attention that Brooks is in fact sick (hard to tell based on an impressive performance thus far) as he disappears with a steaming cup of tea for two songs as the rest of the band improvised to keep the crowd entertained.
Despite the cards they were dealt, The Growlers truly gave it their all, often trying to joke about their situation; the crowd was certainly laughing along. The band truly catered to fans, keeping it light, fun, and high energy. They played crowd favorites such as “One Million Lovers” (begun with a play on the chicken dance, naturally) as well as rarities such as “Dogheart II” and “Monotonia”. If there’s one band that could’ve taken a hot mess and made it a night to remember, it’s certainly them. Here’s to the kings of Beach Goth!