Live Review: The Growlers in Sydney

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Having interviewed them and reviewed their Newcastle show, we ventured to catch California based beach goth outfit The Growlers in Sydney last Friday evening: 

Despite the name, ‘The Roller Den’ has absolutely nothing to do with roller skating, or roller derby for that matter. Dreamy unrealistic expectations aside, I managed to catch The Growlers and support acts The Walking who on Friday night at the Roller Den. This being my first time at the venue, I was pleasantly surprised with the Den’s underground, yet hospitable atmosphere (thankyou air con and A-game sound).

My fellow psychedelic accomplice and I managed to see most of the set from The Walking Who. To me, these guys are the love child of Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, who are probably in my top 10 of the best rock bands to ever surface from the west coast. Their electric buzz filled the small space of the Roller Den and I was hooked and swaying immediately. Their songs ‘Candy Flu’ and ‘Have you Seen the Colours’ were crazy crowd pleasers. 2014 was a huge year for the band, winning FBi’s Northern Lights competition, which included a spot on the Icelandic festival’s lineup.

the growlers sydney 1After a short break and not enough time to get a drink, The Growlers took to the stage and the 60s psych surfer rock commenced. By that stage it seemed as though the room was completely packed and thoughts of edging further towards the front were quashed. We settled for a spacious and advantageous balcony view with what I could only imagine at that time to be the Californian breeze upon my back (again thanks air con), as The Growlers took my soul to Orange County.

Brooks Nielson is the vocal god behind the band’s unique sound and attracted the crowd’s attention and praise as he stepped out with a Scottish Tam hat. Up the front of the crowd was a mix of young fans, singing along, one young gent with speed dealers on, which goes to show this music can be enjoyed by all ages and walks of life.

The band played quite a large collection of their older tunes such as ‘Doghearts II’ (A personal favourite), ‘Humdrum Blues’, ‘Graveyards’, ‘Acid Rain’, and ‘Someday’, as well as some of their new tracks from their latest Chinese Fountain release.

The venue’s sound was fantastic and the thick reverbs bounced off the walls subsequently moving the crowd bopping, swaying and twisting.

The Growlers certainly have got the cool factor – creating the humble ‘Beach Goth’ music movement – and, alongside Burger Records, have birthed an event called the Beach Goth festival where the likes of Tomorrow’s Tulips, Com Truise, The Drums, Chelsea Wolfe and many more have come together to embrace the weird and wonderful world of psychedelia in all shapes and colours.

Let us cross our fingers Burger records bring Beach Goth to an Australian venue soon.

melissa barrass



Review by Melissa Barrass. Live photos by Courtney Dabb