THE GROWLERS at the Horseshoe, Monday, January 28. Rating: NNN
As far as garage bands go, the Growlers are definitely on the more laid-back end of the spectrum. The California psych-rock revivalists sound more authentically 60s than most of their contemporaries, but their most recent album, Hung At Heart, sees them branching out into unexpected reggae-inspired experiments, even incorporating some disco. The washes of cavernous echo have also become more prominent, emphasizing their hazy stoner vibe.
All these sonic elements were reproduced faithfully live at the Horseshoe, and it is definitely refreshing to hear a band injecting new ideas into what is essentially a retro format.
On the downside, the band has become so mellow that there was a noticeable lack of energy in the room. Singer Brooks Nielsen has genuine stage presence and charisma, but he seemed distant and distracted. The room was packed with fans, but they made no attempt to summon the band back for an encore. Sure, it was a Monday night, but that's all the more reason to work harder to win over the room.