Now that the clouds appear to be parting and allowing that big, beautiful ball of fire to peak through, it’s time to start thinking about summer. That time of year when every day is filled with the possibility of ensuing wackiness from spontaneous bike rides to early afternoon drinks or pickup games in the nearest park. No matter what those summer plans might be, one thing is for sure: They need a soundtrack. Something upbeat, something unconventional, something that moves you.
Enter The Growlers. Their self-described “beach goth” is the perfect balance of California surf rock beats, outlandish lyrics, and daydreamy, spaced-out guitar twang to accompany any one of your sun-drenched journeys. Led by frontman Brooks Nielsen's distinguishable yet haunting vocals, The Growlers have quickly amassed a cult-like fanbase that tends to get a little rowdy at live shows. Usually outfitted in costumes or dresses and emitting a strong scent of hard alcohol from all orifices, the spazzed out crowds can’t help but sway and stagger into each other, smirking devilishly while lead guitarist Matt Taylor guides them in and out of psych rock bliss.
As each band member brims with a distinctive stage presence and the acid rock slowly drips down your eardrums, it won’t take long for you to realize that The Growlers are not putting on a show—they're putting on an experience. While the upbeat rhythm will have your body moving, the vocal reverb will leave your mind twisted, completing the full circle of mind-body transformation that they so desire to intoxicate their followers with—Kool-Aid not necessary. Come see for yourself at Mississippi Studios on Friday, May 23.
Playing prior to The Growlers, Portland’s Guantanamo Baywatch add their own raunchy brand of surf punk to the bill. If you've been around the Pacific Northwest during the last four years, chances are you have at least heard about their maniacal shows. Usually taking place in smaller, darkly lit, grease-stained venues, Guantanamo Baywatch know how to bring a raucous party. Terrible fashion sense aside, these unabashed rockers will set the tone with high-energy, head-shattering enthusiasm. They are sure to be a perfect complement to the evening.
Summer Cannibals, another Portland-based band, has the honor of opening the night. A relatively new band, Summer Cannibals were founded by ex-Your Canvas members Jessica Boudreaux and Marc Swart. Add in two more beautiful ladies (one on bass and one behind the drum kit) and these rockers churn out a great sound of gritty guitar rock. They recently displayed their edginess at the St. John’s Bizarre where all four of them had ear-to-ear grins throughout the hard-stomping set. Expect to see them grow heartily in the near future as they continue to play around Portland’s fertile music scene.