PICS: The Growlers at SOMA

'Beach goth' is in session: The Growlers prowled and purred their way through SOMA recently.

11 photos
The Costa Mesa-based group is always a welcome sight in town! This time through San Diego, they performed an all-ages show at SOMA on Oct. 17.
Formed up in Dana Point in 2006, the group is currently comprised of vocalist Brooks Nielsen, guitarist Matt Taylor, keyboardist/guitarist Kyle Straka, and touring members Brad Bowers (bass, pictured), Adam Wolcott Smith (keyboard) and Richard Gowen (drums).
Throughout the years, the band has released seven albums, several EPs and a number of singles. Their latest release, this year's "Casual Acquaintances," is a collection of demos and unused tracks from their 2016 album "City Club." (Nielsen pictured foreground)
The Growlers' sound is -- as SoundDiego's Dustin Lothspeich described in a 2014 interview with Nielsen (pictured) -- an "eclectic mix of vintage psych-country, sunny pop and booze-soaked blues ... It sounds sublimely exotic even though it's a mix of everything rock & roll has been built on."
Their sound has been affectionately dubbed "Beach Goth" and has been the title of their own annual SoCal festival since 2012. This October saw the band take their "Beach Goth" show on the road (as you can see by their stage get-up). (Straka pictured)
Fun fact: The Growlers originally worked with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach on their third album "Hung at Heart," but that version was shelved for an iteration of the album produced by Mike McHugh instead. Idea: Can we somehow convince the band to release that first version?
Aside from "Hung at Heart" and their latest album, they've released "Are You in or Out" in 2009, "Hot Tropics" in 2010, "Gilded Pleasures" in 2013, "Chinese Fountain" in 2014, and "City Club" in 2016.
During the band's 2014 SoundDiego interview, we brought up the fact that a lot of people have dubbed their music "psych rock." Turns out, they don't really understand the categorization. (Taylor pictured)
Nielsen (pictured) told us: "I thought the whole thing was that people got it wrong from the beginning. I wanted us to sound like Iggy Pop doing 'Passenger,' and Matt [Taylor] wanted us to sound like the Grateful Dead, and we didn't know how to sound like what we wanted to."
Calvin Pearce
"When we started it, we thought it sounded great," Nielsen continued, "and everyone around us went, 'Oh, they're a garage band,' and we were like, 'What the f--- is that? Why, is it because our recordings suck?' And then we got thrown in the psych world and then later it was garage and psychedelic -- it's, like, whatever, those are both cool genres, but we never tried to sound like either one of them." (Nielsen pictured foreground)
However you'd describe their music, I think we can all agree that it's simply awesome. The Growlers are always a treat live and their SOMA show was no exception -- come back soon, guys!
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