The Growlers, live in Newcastle

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Following our interview with California-based surf-garage outfit, The Growlers, we sent Ruth Hodge to check them out in Newcastle:

These guys describe their sound as “beach goth” and that’s enough to warrant a visit to one of their shows. Their gig here this Thursday past in humble Newcastle, at The Small Ballroom, got everyone else thinking the same thing too. Here in Newy, we’re big fans of intimate shows, sweat all about our bodies from endless grooving to surfy reverb and chill swiggity swag in the bag 80s post punk, and enigmatic front men, of which The Growlers boasts with ease.

A sea of “maaaaate?” “-maaaaaaaaate” fills the air as locals stumble in to the hotel. But it does not drown out the awesome that is tonight’s lineup.

With a rotten, sticky summer looming over us unrelentingly, the tunes at tonight’s gig called hairy beasts post-feasts to the Small Ballroom for a bit of a boogie and chill sesh that complimented the weather and its accompanying vibes well. Tooheys in one hand, the other nestled relaxedly in the back pocket, knees bent ever so slightly to ensure maximum chill as they stood gazing contently at whatever was going on onstage.

With local band Republic Cucumber Magazine (think a youthful disinterest in what mum says mixed with just a hint of post-rendezvous make out sessions and coupled with actual musical talent – check em’ out!) beginning the night, The Growlers were set up for success in the small but packed house. The Dandelions and Sealegs also provided pre-headline delight before The Growlers smashed through a super sick set of oldies and new tunes. Fans from even their home town in Cali were present and waving their frothy chops as they frothed over the reverb of the sandy road trip sounds of the band.

And then we all went to bed with smiles on our faces. Because that’s what good music should do to you. And that’s what it did indeed do.

ruth hodge


Words by Ruth Hodge. Photo courtesy of Christiane Gozashti.