The Growlers put goth in “beach goth” at Joy Theater


Outside of France, no group of people has ever been so excited by a beret as when The Growlers’ lead singer Brooks Nielsen quite literally shimmied onto the stage of Joy Theater clad in the aforementioned chic headwear.

The Growlers identify as “beach goth,” a combination of surf and psychedelic rock with hints of mischief, gloom and Californian leisure. The band helped popularize the genre by organizing the annual Beach Goth festival in Santa Ana, Calif. since 2012.

The band was created in 2006 and released its debut album “Are You In or Are You Out?” in 2009. The next year later, “Hot Tropics” came out, followed by “Hung at Heart” and “Gilded Pleasures” in 2013. The Growlers released their two most recent albums, “Chinese Fountain” and “City Club,” in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The New Orleans show was a stop on the City Club Fall Tour 2017.

On Saturday, The Texas Gentlemen, a studio band turned on-stage performers, opened the night. The rotating band members have strong ties to both Southern culture and music but sample from many genres. The Texas Gentlemen have performed back-up for the likes of Ed Sheeran and George Strait.

The Gents, as the band is colloquially known, played from their 2017 album “TX Jelly,” including fan-favorite “Shakin’ All Over” and “Superstition.”

The Growlers’ set marked a departure from The Texas Gentlemen’s upbeat tone.

The oldie hit “Drinkin’ Juice Blues,” which is as somber as it sounds, made an appearance early on in the set, establishing a mood of hazy angst that lingered throughout the duration of the show. The popular “Night Ride” from the “City Club” album was followed by the whoops of fans.

The California-based band played to a few hundred enthusiastic concertgoers, mostly of the millennial age group. Band members and fans alike were clad in loose-fitting, neutral garment typical of the soft boy variety, though a bachelorette party was also in attendance.

The spooky melody of “Naked Kids” elicited the lighting of several joints and vigorous head-bobbing. Many songs in the same vein of “Naked Kids” gave off a vibe of electronic chamber music with vague notes of steel drums.

Fans danced erratically or swayed with eyes closed to more lighthearted songs such as “Someday” from “Hung at Heart.”

The Growlers proved a transcendent night for its large cult-like following and casual fans alike. The band continued on tour to Austin and Mexico City.

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