The Growlers are a band from Dana Point, California mixing surf rock sounds with something a little darker to create what’s been called “Beach Goth”. Since forming in 2006 they’ve released four albums and toured extensively, both by as a headlining act and opening for blues rock heavyweights The Black Keys and Julian Casablancas, known for being the frontman of The Strokes. The Growlers hit up Whelan’s in Dublin last night touring under their latest studio effort “Chinese Fountain”.
Shortly after doors opened, the opening band took to the stage, an Irish band by the name of Oh Boland. While they’re quite a new band their set was hugely entertaining, their sound takes influence from Californian bands like Wavves and Thee Oh Sees, but they sound unique in their own right. While they lacked a pristine polished performance, the pure amount of raw energy and enthusiasm more than made up for it. These guys are definitely ones to keep an eye on.
Not too long after Oh Boland left the stage, The Growlers began their performance with “Toe”, the first track off their new album. I have to admit, I’m not overly familiar with the bands discography, though I must’ve of been one of the few people there who wasn’t a die-hard fan. The audience erupted at the beginning of pretty much every song, singing along for the majority of the set, which included tracks from the bands entire discography. There was crowd surfing and dancing too. The atmosphere was next level.
The first half of the bands set consisted of more lighthearted songs, I noticed towards the end the group began to bring out more psychedelic numbers. While they didn’t have an amazing amount of presence, the band held themselves on the stage well. Lead vocalist Brooke Nielsen spent little time conversing with the crowd, leaving more time for the music. It’s also worth mentioning that guitarist Kyle Stratka managed to play both keyboards and guitar for the majority of the set (not an easy task by any means!) and the rhythm section kept things locked down exceptionally well for the whole set. These guys aren’t a new band by any means and their live show really showcases their experience as professional musicians.
Eventually, it was time for The Growlers to leave, but the audience were having none of it, there was chanting, foot stomping and screaming until the band eventually came back to treat us to two final numbers before they said goodbye for the second time. These guys put on an exceptional show and I definitely wouldn’t miss them if they made a return trip to Dublin.