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The Growlers / BRONCHO - Oval Space, London


As we enter the Oval Space, a venue born out of the art of being a scenester, there were two things that struck us. Firstly, fuck me that weed I can smell is as sweet and sticky as an angel’s ejaculate and secondly, when did The Growlers get 1000 new members?

Such is the, now firmly established, pull of the most laid back band in the business that The Growlers have developed their own fan. They are normally dressed in head to toe in ‘ I shower once a week’ garms and have the same chip-fat hair that blesses most pre-pubescent emo kids and tonight they were out in full. Enough of the fan bashing, that really is just one dimension of what is becoming a more assured and mutli-faceted band with every performance, release and tour.

But before that there was BRONCHO, we’ve featured BRONCHO a few times on Far Out before and we were very eager to wrap our ears around the band’s live performance for the first time. They didn’t disappoint. BRONCHO Have a habit of crafting a pop-tinged sound without actually trying to do so, it is incredibly endearing and as the band strum out some of their more beloved hits from Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, they begin to whip the crowd in to swaying mass of red eyes and smiling faces.

BRONCHO continue to work their way through the set and continue to grow movement in to quite a subdued and sedated crowd. Something which is quite the task as the audience move about the sprawling venue with the same viscosity as a dried blob of toothpaste. However the final blast from BRONCHO finally gets the vibe going. ‘Class Historian’ is as close as you can get to a indie-pop charmer without going overboard. The 60’s harmonies melt over the nonchalant delivery and good vibrations ensue.

With BRONCHO doing their admirable best to get the crowd moving the only thing that was ever going to truly make that happen was The Growlers themselves. And boy did they?

The Growlers are a cult band, if you don’t like them – they ain’t bothered. If you do like them they will be your best friend until the end of time. That ideal is what permeates the atmosphere of the room. As the band strum through hits from Hung at Heart the crowd begin their slothful swaying and begin to react with hits like ‘One Million Lovers’ and ‘Someday’ turning the gig in to a full blown ‘love-in’.

The band are being wooed and courted at every opportunity, with the crowd trying to give them their bedroom eyes regardless of gender or sexual preference. The adoration for the band was so great that most of the audience would have missed some sloppy vocals and rhythm work as the constant touring starts to take its toll on Los Growlers.

But all of that is forgotten as the band get a little bit funky and start to dig in to their latest effort Chinese Fountain  ‘Dull Boy’ excites, ‘Magnificent Sadness’ is met gleefully but none more so that the title track of album. However, the best song of the night has to be ‘Going Gets Tough’ as the crowd turn to a choral line and belt out the socially poignant lyrics with the passion of a picket line.

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‘The sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts’ is a quote I wasn’t sure I would ever use in a live review, but things change. This is the best way to describe the gig. There were lots of points which made me feel a little dirty, the fairly consistent mistakes within the music, the needlessly wanker-type crowd whom were all more concerned with being seen there rather than hearing anything but you cannot deny the talent of the band.

The Growlers have endeared themselves to a nation without the sunny skies which inhibit their laid-back style or have the same welcoming surf reputation, but yet they still have created a cult following which is as strong as the sticky skunk which surrounds it in plumes of slacker-rock joy. There’s something special about The Growlers and for once the crowd ‘in-the-know’ actually knew it.