BY: MACKENZI BROWN
This past Friday, I was able to see The Growlers for the second time at The Variety Playhouse located in Little 5 Points of Atlanta. I was so thrilled to see them again, since the last time did not go to well for me. When I first saw them, I was at Shaky Knees Music Festival, but because of many contributing factors, I passed out during their song “Vacant Lot.” Therefore, I spent the majority of their set sitting on the ground staring at people’s calves trying to get myself together.
This time, however, I had a much better view. We arrived at the venue two hours before the doors opened and, in turn, we were able to secure a spot dead center in the front row. The opening acts consisted of local Atlanta artist, Nu Depth, and an adorable band from Athens known as Neighbor Lady. Since these were smaller bands, neither artist had songs on Spotify, so I had no idea what I was in store for.
Nu Depth is an experimental artist from Atlanta and he put on an interesting performance which left many people in the audience very confused and believing it was more of a social experiment than an opening act because of how different, and strange it was. If you want to get a better idea for yourself, you can check out one of his live performances here.
I was pleasantly surprised by Neighbor Lady which consists of two super cute dudes and two kickass girls that together make up their groovy, soulful, rock, and Western sounds. I typically do not like bands with female lead singers (I do not know why, I just don’t), but I really liked the sound of this band and the lead singer’s voice. Sadly, they are not on SoundCloud or Spotify so in order to listen to them, you have to YouTube them, which I highly recommend.
Finally, at ten o’clock, The Growlers took the stage and the crowd of hipster girls in chokers and denim jackets rushed forward. They came out singing “Drinking the Juice Blues (Hashima)” and throughout their set, sang a few songs from every album of theirs such as “Sea Lion Goth Blues,” “One Million Lovers,” “Night Ride,” and “Chinese Fountain.” I thought this was cool because they did not just focus on their newer stuff which is every die-hard original fan’s biggest fear. My favorite part of the entire performance though had to be when they covered “100 Years Ago” by The Rolling Stones. I cannot fathom how happy it makes me when one of my favorite artists covers a song from another favorite band of mine. I was a tad bit disappointed when they did not also cover “Cherry, Oh Baby” by the Stones which they normally do, but they made up for it by covering “Good Name” by William Onyeabor.
Nielson’s one-of-a-kind raspy voice emulated his quirky and funky dance moves and struts across the stage. Just watching him will make you wish you were half as eccentric as he is. In addition, the constantly changing lights display paired well with the psychedelic rock sound that this band produces.
Although this indie/surf rock band does not come across as something you would want to head-bang to, the front half of the crowd ceaselessly moshed their way through the night. Simply swaying and jumping with your friends did not seem to cut it for this overly energetic crowd. Not only that, but some fans tried to be sneaky and push you out of the way to possess your closer up spot. I may or may not have had to pull a girl’s hair and let my elbow meet her face in order to save my spot right against the stage.
The raw emotion that is very evident behind Nielson’s voice in addition to their groovy sound and funky chords makes any show of theirs a feel-good concert that is fun and easy to dance to even if you don’t know a single lyric.
The Growlers, “Night Ride”
The Growlers, “100 Years Ago” (The Rolling Stones cover)