Out of this murky ayahuasca-brew of shuffling drumbeats and moaning echoes there emerges a thin, delicate melody, a flash of reggae and a hint of disco. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen emerges from the swampy stew of busy instrumentation like a lounge lizard, a balladeer with a sleazy demeanor, a sensitive troubadour for whom no subject matter is taboo. Known for falling down drunk during the occasional performance, Brooks easily draws comparisons to Jim Morrison. But his unmistakable voice and transcendental lyrics place him squarely on the stumbling path of other past greats like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain and M.E. Smith. Rounding out a show at the Artifice Bar on June 23rd, The Growlers’ new song One Million Lovers is like a fresh breeze out of the psychedelic past, turning a somewhat skeptical house into a pack of crowd-surfing lunatics.
The thin cracked veneer of contemporary culture won’t be able to withstand The Growlers’ heavy doses of musical DMT. Imitators will follow, but they’ll be trying to catch a wave that is already gone. Even the television will melt under the psychedelic plasma of The Growlers’ wake. When they were chosen to represent Coachella this year on Good Day LA, the band covered a song called Drugs, Drugs, Drugs by Tonetta. The result was nothing less than a gaping cosmic hole in the fabric of the television meta-narrative, as though someone had rammed a fun-house mirror into the middle of a trans-dimensional wasp’s nest. If you’re unfamiliar with Tonetta, consider this virginity best left intact. Otherwise, he can be found on YouTube doing pretty much what G.G. Allin would be doing (were he still alive) on days when he felt pretty.
The entire culture industry will one day be addicted to the psychedelic effluence of The Growlers. News reporters, talk show hosts and sketch comedians will crawl like sick junkies through an alternate universe of woe, forgetting how they got there, not knowing how to navigate, and begging for just one more dose of The Growlers. But The Growlers will have long since moved on, bending sound, time and mind on their way to a new spiraling musical expression. Nothing will stand in the way of this imminent ascension, not even another nauseating presidential campaign. Rock stars have better track records when it comes to saving the world and immortalizing themselves, anyway. And it’s not as big a deal when they act like spoiled babies. So just vote for The Growlers in 2012. You’re 100% guaranteed to have a better time.
ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Artand culture since 2009.