The LA beach goths kicked up a storm with their raucous surf-noir at the Roundhouse last Friday; Hassan Anderson reviews.
Forgoing a support band and starting early at around 8pm, The Growlers unravel an extensive set at Camden’s Roundhouse tonight. They treat fans to a vast array of songs from their decade long back catalogue and their latest album Natural Affair.
Despite some minor front-of-house issues on opener ‘Something Someone Jr’, the master purveyors of brooding surf-rock deliver a well-crafted mixture of fan favourites such as ‘Dope on a Rope’ and newer, synth-heavy earworms like ‘Try Hard Fool’. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen’s voice is a total pleasure to listen to, sounding remarkably as warm and barrel-aged as it does on record.
The crowd appear more frantic and energetic than The Growlers do most of the time. Even when a t-shirt is thrown on stage from the bustling mosh pit, Nielsen catches it with a stylish nonchalance as if it’s just part of the usual routine.
Towards the end of the set, ‘City Club’ is a welcome roar-along moment. Nielson pledges a commitment to playing London again soon before delivering on a promised encore of a few songs, closing with the mighty beach goth hymn, ‘Going Gets Tough’.
By the end, it feels as if The Growlers have played the 1,700 capacity Roundhouse as effortlessly as they would to ten people in a small dive bar, which is perhaps how their brooding pop songs work best.