Concert Review: The Growlers, BRONCHO, February 27, Lincoln Hall


There was a lot going on at Lincoln Hall on Friday night. I counted:
– 4 fur coats
– 3 white guys with dreads
– 2 crowd surfers
– 1 count of side boob
– 1 guy who managed to get onstage with a pair of red undies on his head

I couldn’t say for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say those numbers are probably pretty standard for a Growlers show – it was fascinating, weird and amazing in equal parts.

The night started with BRONCHO (well the night actually started with a DJ who I missed, so let’s just say it started with BRONCHO). The indie rockers from Norman, Oklahoma (who are fresh off their tour with Billy Idol – a dynamite pairing, I still can’t believe I missed it) played mainly from their 2014 release Just Enough Hip to be Woman, wrapping up with their addictive and infectious “Class Historian.” The band sounded spot on to their album, with their fuzzy, guitar driven rock warming the crowd up nicely for the Growlers and that distinctive stutter on “Class Historian” getting the audience especially amped up.

The Growlers took to the stage next in two of the four fur coats being sported at Lincoln Hall that night. Lead singer Brooks Neilsen was looking cozy in a little black mid waist number that he eventually shed to get down onstage later in the show. The band immediately launched into the set with their distinctive ‘beach goth’ sound coming through loud and clear in the small space. The hazy jangle pop/psychadelic rock with Neilsen’s almost Bob Dylan-esque nasal drawl overlaying it was exactly what the crowd came to hear and they went wild for it – that was the point when the tenacious young man with the underwear on his head made it onstage. I’ve never seen crowd surfing at Lincoln Hall, and right off the bat I wouldn’t expect this show to be the one to break that rule, but being there it kind of made sense. The band has five full length albums (including the fantastic Chinese Fountain released in 2014) and with a lot of their songs (especially the earlier ones) clocking in at about 2 minutes, the band was able to run through an impressive amount of tracks. It was especially fun watching Neilsen do his things onstage – his go-to dance move is a sort of combination of the robot and a 1960s twist that’s really endearing.

The second half of the set was heavier on the hits, with the band playing “One Million Lovers,” “Chinese Fountain,” “Someday,” and “Good Advice” (which holds the oh-so-true lyrics “there’s nothing as depressing as good advice /nobody wants to hear how to live their life”). The band possessed a lot of qualities I appreciated (fashion, talent, whimsy) but the best was their honesty: “We’re going to take a tinkle, then we’re going to come back onstage and play a couple more songs” said Neilsen as they wrapped up the set. Yup. No ‘will they? won’t they? are we clapping loud enough?’ anxiety over an encore. The band has to pee then they’re coming back. Nobody likes games – the Growlers get it and you gotta love ‘em for it.

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts