December 30, 2010
Last night was the Growlers' sold out show at the Echo, supported by Gantez Warrior and Grand Elegance. I got there right as doors were supposed to open to find a line stretching almost as far as the Brite Spot and an unusually high concentration of really young looking girls wearing sequin dresses and heels and hairbands across their foreheads.
Lots of people were complaining loudly about the $12 ticket price as those hoping to score last minute tickets walked away dejectedly when no spare tickets were found. Even more awkward, I watched a guy trying to convince the Echo's manager that his ID was, in fact, real; he's just not from here, that's the problem. Unsurprisingly convinced, the ID wasn't returned. After a highly uncomfortable half hour of waiting in the cold, the doors to the Echo finally opened, and the place filled to the brim immediately.
First up was Gantez Warrior, a young surf band from Costa Mesa who wanted us to know that they actually surf and probably surf better than anyone in the audience. The band claims to be all about “making out, dancing, teenage party music, surfing, positive fun, and getting people down to as little clothes as possible,” but little dancing occurred, and everyone remained fully clothed, though enough people started moving around to make the Echo slightly less freezing inside.
Gantez Warrior was followed by Long Beach psych-blues band Grand Elegance fronted by Warren Thomas whose histrionic vocals sound kind of like Iggy and looks kind of like he's casting a spell on you and digging straight into your soul.
Warren T. returned to play custom bongos with the Growlers, who came to the stage after it was sufficiently decorated with silver foil “blankets” draped over amps and mic stands and all over the floor. Wonderfully weird, we can expect as much from the Growlers, and that's why we love them. We also love them for making us forget that it's a cold night in December with their warm surf-psychedelic party music that got people dancing, or as close to dancing as you can get when packed so tightly into such a small space.
Lead singer Brooks Neilson recalls the energy of Jim Morrison and Ian Curtis as maniac Growlers fans pressed hard against the stage just to be a little bit closer to him. He invited the audience on stage with him, much to the irritation of the Echo's security, who actually let quite a few people hop on and share vocals for a few seconds before getting serious again towards the end of the set.
Several girls crowd surfed to the stage to give Neilson a hug before being swallowed up again by the crowd. One girl was apparently so excited to be in his presence that she waved an iphone in his face the entire time she was on stage to capture the moment before diving back into the audience.
The Growlers bring the party wherever they go and as a thank you someone in the audience offered up a black lacy bra to the band, much to Neilson's excitement. He proudly put it on his head and walked off the stage with a giant grin on his face after what was clearly a successful night filled with drinks, drugs, hot women, and weird props.