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Review Tue Mar 03 2015

The Growlers Changed the Tides at Lincoln Hall

growlers1.jpg My cousin and I have been to dozens upon dozens of concerts and we have noticed something about Chicago crowds over the years. There was a time where the overarching generality about Chicago audiences was that we were a somber bunch, quietly dancing in place no matter how intense the band was. Recently, we've seen an upswing in energy. The tides have been changing. There is still reverence for shows when appropriate, but the rowdiness factor has certainly risen. There's more dancing, jumping, pushing, and people just let go to the music. An animated group of people can affect an experience, giving the atmosphere a more raucous note for better or worse. Luckily the wild mood of the crowd leaned towards the better for The Growlers and BRONCHO during the last night of two sold-out shows at Lincoln Hall.

The first indication of wilder than usual night came during BRONCHO's set. Initially I felt that band carried a sort of relaxed but still rocking energy on their albums. They use their fuzzy guitars with some interesting pop cues. Live they emphasize more of the looseness of garage rock with a ton of fun punk sensibilities. "Class Historian" had certain urgency to it as bathrobe clad front man Ryan Lindsey dashed through it. The song's easily sung along chorus resonated quickly with the crowd as they bounced in tune to its quick tempo.

broncho.jpgEvery song BRONCHO played sounded quicker than I've ever heard. I think everyone was ready to move along to their songs but the band seemed more driven than ever to accomplish this. The crowd absolutely responded in accord, digging into the band as they churned out the fantastic "NC-17". The night hit its first peak of wildness during the latter half of their rapid fire set. A clearly too tipsy girl swung her full drink overhead. People were drenched in alcohol but this was a momentary distraction. BRONCHO's gripping music had most people shrugging the incident off and continuing to groove out.

Everyone at Lincoln Hall found a way to amplify their energy when The Growlers came to the stage. I've seen my fair share of devote fan bases, but The Growlers' may take it. They barely started playing and the crowd was already thrashing around. There was no stopping the celebration of the band once all the Beach Goth vibes started pouring out. That strange and slightly contradictory label is somehow perfectly describes by The Growlers. It is embodied through strongest with undeniable elements of sunny psychedelia mixed with undeniably somber and longing lyrics.

One of the most appealing things about The Growlers is Brooke Nielsen's intoxicating voice. It floats along the band's instrumentation with breezy poise. "Acid Rain" has Nielsen hiding away the loss of girlfriend with an acid trip. The music already has a drifting twinkle and Nielsen voice only extends its. It is so easy to just get lot The Growlers songs. No matter how lovelorn songs like "One Million Lovers" got, Nielsen was enjoying himself more and more with each passing lyric.

growlers.jpgIt was very clear that The Growlers had the entire venue in their grasp. "Rare Heart" put the crowd into the biggest trance, letting them melt away in a spur of dancing. It was as if pockets of the crowd had been transported from the confines of Lincoln Hall to a warm bonfire in the middle of a California beach. Girls swayed with big swathing movements while guys rhythmically hopped around them. It was one of the trippier moments in the show.

"Going Gets Tuff" quickly reigniting the chaotic dancing of the crowd for the encore. The unabashed enthusiasm was such a fantastic sight. I'm sure the crowd would have wanted to keep the party going all night long with The Growlers, but the night did have to come to an end. That end came in the form of "Someday", a song full of ambitions for a better future. As Nielsen sang "Hang on for the ride/I think I feel a change of tide" and the crowd surged one final time, I couldn't help but smile. It seems like my cousin and I were right. Crowds are changing and hopefully it continues to be for the better.

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slurps / March 4, 2015 12:28 PM

i used to just stand around awkwardly when i went to shows and now i feel comfortable enough to allow myself to move as i want to the music.

that or audiences are changing or something.

dude / March 4, 2015 5:12 PM

I was really bummed out by the Growlers at this show. They said maybe 2 words to the crowd. They were really boring. I think they might be getting burned out from being on the road. Sucks, will not go see them again.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
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Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
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Cream Team
Dark Jive
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