Taylor Bonin

The Growlers

Flash back to last year, October 19th to be exact, when I fell in love with the idea of love. This love wasn’t just the typical “happily ever after” kind of love, but the real, raw, and gut-wrenching type. The kind of love that makes you appreciate the struggle and pain of each relationship.  I learned to embrace all of the uncomfortable phases of love and other emotions with the help of one band, The Growlers.

It was at Treasure Island Music Festival where I first heard The Growlers eclectic Beach Goth sounds. My initial encounter with the group was when they performed at the Tunnel Stage late Sunday afternoon. It was the last day of the festival, and the San Francisco skyline made for the most aesthetically pleasing backdrop. The cool bay breeze and clear blue skies made for some serious mood setting vibes.

Spending just one day at the festival, I was in discovery mode. I wanted to be fully present while experiencing each performance. Having no prior knowledge of the band The Growlers or any clue as to what they might sound like, I was instantly taken by their unique use of surfy guitar jams. It was oddly upbeat while simultaneously grungy, but their brutally honest and mildly depressing lyrics crept into my heart. Plus, they were a bunch of quirky and fun looking dudes, so it was easy to get engaged.

Putting a slight psychedelic spin on a classic surf-rock style, The Growlers have the strange ability to get the listener to dance while evoking deep thoughts of love, ambition, and life. The lyrics are intricately chosen and typically describe a vulnerable state of mind, which oddly enough pairs well with the upbeat tempo of the music. Originating in Southern California, they represent a more laid-back and beachy style of music, which can allow the listener’s mind to wonder upon a multitude of topics.

After becoming infatuated with their sound and listening to their most recent record, “Chinese Fountain,” on repeat for months, I was finally able to see them perform again. This time on a Saturday, June 20th, it was at one of their headlining shows that were a part of a three-day series at San Francisco’s Great American Music hall. Each day of the series sold out which definitely says something about their fan base.

The Growlers put on a magnificent performance in a packed venue. The crowd was constantly moving and singing along. They sang full-heartedly as if they were reciting the love-laced lyrics that so perfectly defined their own emotions. The vigorous swaying of the audience created an almost whirlpool type of vortex pulling listeners toward the stage.

At one point, I was even sucked into the black hole of sweaty strangers where I became aware of the fact that fans of The Growlers are actually some insanely hygienic people. I mean, if you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with the heavily perspiring dude next to you, it’s nice to think he is clean based on the inherent smell of dryer sheets.

In September, The Growlers will be playing at TBD Festival which is located across from Raley Field in West Sacramento. Similar to a few of the TBD artists from last year (DIIV, The Drums, and Beach Fossils), they will be bringing the Beach Goth vibes to a new level. TBD Fest is September 18, 19, and 20, so mark your calendars, because your attendance at this three-day festival is vital to your social existence. When September rolls around, you don’t want to be caught TBD-less.

Here’s an idea: instead of reading my fan girl ramblings, how about you have a listen for yourself? I have created a SoundCloud playlist of my favorite songs by The Growlers for you to enjoy at your leisure. I should warn you, there may or may not be full albums incorporated in the playlist, because I’m indecisive and like too many songs.