Beach-goth rockers The Growlers never disappoint.
Growlers fans at Miami Marketta were in for a treat when the five-piece took to the stage for the first time since 2016. Sometimes the first show of a tour makes those in the crowd feel like test dummies, but The Growlers brought everything they had and more to the first stop of their ‘Casual Acquaintances’ Australian tour. Piled into the Marketta was a teeming crowd. Most were sweaty and many were long-time fans, the kind that knew every song word-for-word. Even when the sound encountered some problems early set it was covered up by the crowd passionately singing along.
The Growlers opened with ‘Night Ride’ and followed on with a banging combination of old hits as well as new tracks from latest album Casual Acquaintances. The whole set was tailored to the audience whose facial expressions displayed nostalgia and enthralment - slaves to the familiar driving beats of the songs. Once the sound issues were sorted out, every instrument could be clearly heard, and the overall mix was spot-on.
There were a few surprises in store. One of these is the appearance of controversial Australian artist Kirin J Callinan. In contrast to the tightness of The Growlers’ playing, he added his own sprinkle of improvised energy. an oddly mismatched but welcome presence, Kirin added the perfect amount of spice and light-heartedness.
A second pleasant surprise came in the form of crowd favourite from the new album, ‘Problems III’ stripped back to just guitar and vocals. The song describes the familiar feeling of digging up fond memories in desperation to keep one’s lover around, which is why it’s the perfectly bittersweet tune to be played in such a vulnerable way as it was.
After the band exited the stage, they teased the crowd with what seemed like the longest wait of their lives before strolling back on stage for a personalised song called ‘Australia’. They then closed the night with hits ‘I’ll Be Around’ and ‘Going Gets Tough’.
Words by Anna Leathem