I am two-and-a-half minutes into the first show of The Growlers’ four-night residency, and I am having a fantastic time.
This is not, in fact, because of the cider I’m sucking down like a British teenager at her first Glastonbury or because I am a fan of Lou Reed’s “Real Good Time Together” — the slightly on-the-nose track the band uses as their walk-on music. It’s because the Growlers are two-and-a-half minutes into the opening night of their residency at The Independent, and truly fucking killing it. Once they finish “Drinkin’ the Juice Blues,” an older cut they’ll revisit several times before the weekend is up, frontman Brooks Nielsen yells, “And we’re off!” He means it.
It gets worse. Following a swaying cover of Eddie Novak’s “Psycho” and halfway through a delightfully sludgy rendition of the irresistibly romantic “City Club,” I’m hanging over the balcony railing and believing every outdated notion about rock ’n’ roll I swore off years ago, namely that this genre was invented by men to woo women. That’s still inaccurate, but even I must admit that “City Club” is the kind of song that every halfway heterosexual woman would like to have written about her. To no one’s surprise, it’s winning over the entire crowd, straight dudes included.
Like The Growlers would stop there. “City Club” jams out and transitions into “Chinese Fountain,” a song that has never once in its three-year history failed to get the people going. The audience can hear the cut coming a third of the way into the transition, but the band takes their sweet time getting there. A zippy cover of William Onyeabor’s “Good Name”…
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