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The Growlers Bring Brand-New Tunes to Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 30th, 2016

The Growlers – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 29, 2016

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

The Growlers hail from California, which is an important detail to remember because few bands nail the California sound, all of it, and all on their own terms. It’s like they took every genre the large, diverse state is known for and mashed it into one thing. Surf rock, psychedelia, sunny pop tunes, throw it all in a blender and what comes out? Beach Goth, if you were to ask the Growlers. It’s how they refer to their unique sound—they even host an annual festival by the same name.

But on Thursday, the Growlers’ conquests remained on the rainy East Coast, more specifically at the sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg on the night before the release of their fifth full-length, City Club. They even came with a neon-glowing CITY CLUB sign onstage to mark the occasion. Donning some seriously stunning white Western suits with floral stitching, the Growlers ran through all the hits, and for a relatively young band, there’s a hell of a lot of songs the majority of the crowd knew most of the words to, following along to singer Brooks Nielsen’s signature nasally croon. He’s great fun to watch, if there’s such a thing as slow motion flailing, it’s his dance move of choice.

Contrasted to their older tunes, the latest material has a little more poppy sheen. “Night Ride” features an ironed-out, dance friendly groove. The equally dance friendly “Dull Boy” showcases a more lurching reggae groove, while the latest release’s title track has a polyrhythmic groove reminiscent of the Talking Heads. Simply put, there were grooves for all. The performance ended with “Going Gets Tough,” with its refrain of “Still always remembering/ When the going gets tough/ That the labor of our love/ Will reward us soon enough.” Nothing Goth-y about this sentiment, beach Goth-y maybe, but nonetheless a perfect send-off for the night. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks