During their third show added due to overwhelming popularity, The Growlers did their best to blast Oxford Art Factory open from the inside.
This was my first time seeing both the support and headliner, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from WAWAWOW’s live show, but I knew it was going to be loud. They delivered and then some. The four-piece opened with a solid crescendo of keys layered on guitars atop drums, biding and building until the vocals finally chundered out in a solid wall of putrid stereo distortion.
We were in a literal lo-fi lava cave and the crowd was so lost in the sound that none of us realised the band had run a little over time. Honestly, we would have been perfectly content in that moment.
Alas, the molten rock cooled and the crowd simmered down again in tempered anticipation for the Californians who had once again made their way down under. The Growlers have been around for over a decade now and have built a cruisy rep as one of the coolest and most interesting bands this side of The Doors, with a couple of self-founded festivals (Growlers Six, Beach Goth) and six studio LPs under their belt.
Their latest record, City Club, was produced by Julian Casablancas, who is apparently their biggest fan. The entire album features a distinctly Strokes sound, particularly tracks like Dope on a Rope and Too Many Times.
Their Oz tour was taking them from one coast to the other, including three sold out nights in Sydney. Night one saw WAWAWOW slam down an almost non-stop 30 minute set. The Growlers schmoozed on afterwards like a wave of salty Southern Californian air. They proceeded to play a two-hour spot with singer Brooks quirkily shifting around the stage, his Jim Morrison growl serenading the troves of fans who were clinging to his pant legs, as punters slowly moved into crowd surfing mode as the night progressed.
It was rowdy in a few places but my lazy steeze against side stage was never disrupted – I was totally mesmerised for the whole two hours. Once the encore was wrapped up, I think we were all in agreement. Let’s do this again soon, Growlers.
Words and photos by Dani Hansen.