show review: the growlers @ hollywood palladium

Written by Donna Borges

This past Thursday, Los Angeles band The Growlers played their final show of the U.S. Beach Goth Tour at the Hollywood Palladium. The tour began in early August with the annual Beach Goth Festival at the LA Historic State Park. This show was special not only because it was the homecoming show of the tour, but it was also a Halloween party- the band encouraged all of us to come in costume. I did my makeup as a jester and some of my friends did skeleton and joker face paint. We were impressed at how many people at the show came not only with Halloween face paint, but in full out costumes.

We spent way too much time on our “costumes” and ended up being late and missing the opener: Kirin J Callinan. We made our way inside the venue- just in time for the Growlers’ set, which opened with a Michael Jackson impersonator. This was not surprising, since the Growlers are known for their eclectic live performances. After the impersonator danced around on stage and lip-synced to Michael Jackson’s top hits, the Growlers came out and began their two-hour and twenty-minute set. They played a mix of their most popular hits, and songs from their newest album, Casual Acquaintances. They even played lesser-known songs off their past albums. The crowd was full of energy throughout the entire set, despite the length of the show.

My personal favorites that they played were “Black Memories” and “Big Toe” off of their album Chinese Fountain. I honestly had not given their newest album a good listen before the show, but after seeing the performance of “Problems III” and “Heaven or Hell,” I regret not listening to the album sooner. The band’s performance was strong throughout the entire set and lead singer Brooks Nielsen’s voice never failed as he sang, dressed as a vampire, through the entire night.

The Growlers never fail to have incredible staging, with art and decorations both on stage and hanging from the ceiling. This including plastic skeletons, screens with movie clips playing, and painted decorations that looked like skulls with sunglasses. At one point during the show, the lighting changed and a blacklight shined on the props and decorations. This completely changed the aesthetic of the stage and giving it a more spooky look- perfect for the Halloween theme. In addition to stage props, they had art and decorations outside of the venue in the parking lot, including their painted old-school Lincoln, the inflatable skeleton girls that were also at the Beach Goth festival, and a Rocky Horror Picture Show inspired backdrop for concert-goers to take photos.

Overall, the Growlers know how to put on a show and make an event unforgettable for their fans. Although the group is now on the European leg of their tour, keep an eye out for their next LA show- it is a performance you will not want to miss!

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