College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut was packed on Saturday, Sept. 30 as the venue welcomed The Growlers to their stage. New Haven was one of the first stops of many that the band made on their City Club Fall 2017 Tour.
Blending genres of surf, punk, psychedelic and alternative rock, The Growlers have steadily built a dedicated fanbase since forming in 2006. The Growlers have had a rotating line-up of members but have consistently featured lead guitarist Matt Taylor and have been fronted by lead singer Brooks Nielsen. Their setlist included songs across their six albums and three EPs, but predominantly focused on the band’s latest release, 2016’s “City Club.” Fan favorite songs like “City Club,” “Night Ride,” “Black Memories,” and even a brief cover of The Shirelles “Mama Said,” were all met with loud cheers and wild dancing from the audience.
“City Club” was released on Sept. 30, 2016, one year to the day of this concert. Co-produced by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, the album was a change in sound for the band, which invoked some disappointment for old fans but brought in a wide range of new ones. Nielsen wrote all of the lyrics on the album, and both he and Taylor composed all of the music.
The Growlers are as talented instrumentally as they are lyrically. At one point in the show, Nielsen left the stage while the rest of the band continued playing, giving the artists on guitar, drums, bass guitar and keyboard the opportunity to show off their accomplished skills and distinct sound.
Nielsen held his drink up to the crowd several times throughout the night, reminding them that he was having just as much fun as they were. The crowd was comprised mainly of college-aged students, and as they sang along to every line it was clear they were happy to be there. The band seemed to be very present, rather than just going through the motions, as bands can easily do when they tour heavily throughout the year. At several points Nielsen even recognized and interacted with the fans in the crowd.
A highlight of the show was that it was not just an auditory experience, but visually appealing as well. Nielsen paraded around the stage with energy, and his unique and quirky dance moves only added to the excitement in the audience. Additionally, special credit has to go to the lighting technician, as the lighting on stage was spectacular, colorful and beautiful.
Opening for The Growlers were New York-based Baby Shakes, a female dominated band who brought the crowd to their feet with their punk rock sound.
Overall, the evening was one to remember, filled with great music, an energetic crowd and dancing – lots and lots of dancing.
Recommended Tunes: “Night Ride,” “Beach Rats,” “Someday,” “Graveyard’s Full,” and “Going Gets Tough.” For upcoming shows visit: www.thegrowlers.com.