On the fourth day of their mini-Californian tour, The Growlers came back down south to turn out The Troubadour with their psycho beach party tunes and circus sideshow-esque performance. Complete with a taxidermy wolf-dog, a mermaid-dressed fan, and multiple hits of acid, the insanity only grew with each song from this Costa Mesa-based band.
In between gems off of their three albums such as “Wet Dreams” (which lead singer Brooks Nielsen has “never had”), “Acid Rain,” and “Gay Thoughts,” The Growlers completely captivated the audience with their witty quips and vulgar shout-outs. When the band, consisting of Brooks, bass player and vocalist Scott Montoya, guitarist and singer Matt Taylor, and drummer Brian Stewart, received a homemade pink foam crown from one of their fans, Brooks sassily replied, “I’ll be your princess. This crown does match my panties.”
A homecoming sold-out show with friends and local opening bands Somedays and TRMRS is only a small indication of The Growlers surpassing their Southern Orange County prominence. Playing with artists such as Devendra Banhart, Vampire Weekend, and Dr. Dog has increased their exposure in the Midwest and East Coast, while their amusing, laid-back vibes and inherent talent continue to land them shows across the country and a mounting, devoted fan base.
Wyatt Blair, drummer of TRMRS, said, “They started the WHOLE surf/psychy beach scene down here. I mean, I saw them play these songs six years ago at Dana Hills [High School] Battle of the Bands, when they didn’t even have a bass player and they were still in high school. People DIDN’T think it was cool; people thought they were fucking weird druggies. But they’re so good, and they have never changed for anyone. I have so much respect for that.” Looking at videos from The Growlers’ earlier days in 2006, one can see that they have stayed true to their roots. Now that this reverb-soaked surf pop genre has grown, so has their recognition.
During their second to last song, “Something Someone Jr.,” TRMRS singer and guitarist Tommy Stewart shoved Brooks into the audience and unexpectedly stumbled down to the floor with him. Brooks continued to sing the song in its entirety while the crowd encased him and girls in bikini tops rushed to his aid.
Once back on stage Brooks simply stated, “Right on you guys, you raped me.”
The band plunged into two more songs before departing, but not until Brooks exclaimed, “Show me your tits for one more song!” while one of the band’s roommates clad in a woman’s purple blazer and yellow short shorts ran to the microphone and joined in, “They won’t play unless we see tits! Come on!”
“They are just so original, and it’s hard to be original nowadays,” Blair stated.
Creating their own psychedelic album art, traveling in a converted school bus with “Church Youth Choir” spray painted across the side, and residing in a tripped-out warehouse in Costa Mesa, The Growlers truly are the definition of an original band. (Aly)