The line was long at the Glasshouse when the Growlers tour bus pulled up. This painted up school bus that looks like it could be a creature in one of Hunter S. Thompson’s mescaline dreams fueled my anticipation. While this FYF affair boasted seven great bands and Burger Record DJ’s in between sets, the buzz was in the air for the Growlers. At one point a dusty Jeep full of people, (and all sorts of stuff), rolled up and a wide eyed hippie type girl with sun baked crimped long hair leaned out the window, “Is this the Growler’s show?” When we told her yes her face lit up like she had just reached the holy land after traveling 100 miles through a parched desert. Yeah, this night, where myself and the magnificent Alyssa Holland would trade our time, (and this review), between The Glasshouse and Aladdin Jr’s - was starting off just right.
Hanni El Khatib, (say that 5 times fast), kicked things off at the Glasshouse. With only guitar and a drummer, Hanni played his own brand of striped down 50’s influenced dirty blues rock with dashes of rockabilly and soul. “Loved One” full of testosterone and one two many beers feels like a car gunning it’s engines before a street race. “You Rascal You” - with it’s chunky over modulated sound and piercing lead jabs is slicked back and tattooed up and cruising for a bruising and “Dead Wrong” is a dancy doo wop skirt twister. Dirty guitar, sultry sandpaper vocals- awesome. Hanni El Khatib will be doing multiple showcases at SXSW.
- Adler Bloom
Drug Cabin is Nathan Thelan’s, (Moonrats and Pretty Girls Make Graves), solo project. I was not able to catch their entire set but what I heard was really wonderful. “Nobody’s Ghost” with it’s airy chords and meditative cadence and Thelan’s beautiful vocals wraps you up in your own daydreams. “One I love” moves along like a water running over rocks, Thelan’s guitar picking dancing while the bass happily walks along. Very cool dreamy stuff that for me, pulled me back to Steeler’s Wheel or elements of the masterful Beach Boy’s Holland Album or the earthiness of Neil Young. Cool beans indeed.
- Adler Bloom
As soon as Tijuana Panthers started warming up, a crowd began to form tightly in the glasshouse full of many fans and many curious observers that hadn’t heard them before. They started out with “Don’t Shoot Your Guns,” which reminds me of a British-pop-punk that differs from their general surf sound. The crowd was pushing to get to the front and there was a small amount of moshers, but everyone was dancing and singing along. All three members were on point with their vocals and playing; they sounded phenomenal. When they played the audiences favorite “Creature” absolutely everyone began to jump, dance, and scream out the lyrics. They played “Boardwalk” beautifully, and dedicated it to “Pee Wee Herman” making him a lucky lady because this song is sensual and sweet. They ended their set with “Prayer Needs,” after Chad played the beginning of it once before and left us wanting to hear it, we finally got our fix and it sounded as amazingly catchy as ever.
- Alyssa Holland
If Hell has a Club Punk Cabana then Death Hymn Nine would be the band. If music is blaring in Charlie Sheen’s head when the “poles” in his brain are playing tug of war then Death Hymn Nine is that noise. With the blood red paint spatter on their t-shirts and the chalk powder faces they looked Día de los Muertos punk puppets. The music is frantic and balls out punk with the lead singer screaming so hard that it made my throat sore but Death Hymn Nine’s song also have some cool vibes that lift it above standard punk fare. Some of the tom tom beats almost sounded punk big band, some of the guitar almost sounded like a punk version of Duane Eddy twangy surf guitar. Splash some blood red paint on your t-shirt and check them out.
- Adler Bloom
Crystal Antlers seriously sounded fucking magnificent tonight. They always do, but for some reason tonight everything just came together perfectly and Jonny’s voice sounded so good it was like a recording (so we recorded it of course). The crowd got denser, and moshed powerfully, as I was standing directly behind their biggest fan. He was reaching his hands out to Crystal Antlers, and screaming along to each song. They began with new songs titled “Fortune Telling” and “Until the Sun Dies pt. 2” which both sound very strong, hard-hitting, energetic, and experimental. When they played “Summer Solstice” not one person wasn’t moving. The drumbeat forces your hips to move, and the Cora’s keys get stuck in your head for days (making my days better). This is honestly one of my favorite songs, ever. The song that captured the audience the most was “A Thousand Eyes” which starts out heavy, fast, and loud, and drops down to a bluesy passionate slower chorus. Before they ended their perfect set, Jonny said “up next is Audacity at Aladdin’s, then Growlers. Growlers… we played on your roof five years ago, don’t forget that.”
- Alyssa Holland
When you watch Audacity, that surf / garage / rock band from Fullerton California you feel like you’re in a back yard house party. Maybe it is because the guys are so unpretentious about what they do which is play solidly crafted garage rock, have some beers and call each other bitches. The crowd at Aladdin’s Jr were totally on board, dancing and asking the boys to play their favorite Audacity songs. If only there was a swimming pool to jump in- it would of totally felt like the OC.
- Adler Bloom
Growlers started their set as Brooks said over the screaming crowd, “This song is called Gay Thoughts.” I was in the middle of the crowd, with absolutely no room to even breath anything but the smells of 3 different kinds of smoke, many different alcohols and sweat. I don’t know what the hell the crowd was doing… we were just falling back and forth together and squished up so tight that I’m pretty sure my bones are now crushed. So after this song I left this weird wave of people with many others saying “Why can’t we just dance?” - made my way backstage and then on stage with the Growlers, and danced my heart out with all the other girls surrounding the band. The crowd went wild for “Acid Rain” an obvious all time favorite for most of them. It’s definitely one of the most addictive songs out there right now, and it’s impossible to not enjoy. They slowed it down with “Empty Bones” but that didn’t stop people from crowd surfing constantly and getting thrown back into the wave of people by the Glasshouse security. I died when they played “Old Cold River” and I sang along adoringly to Brook’s fantastic vocals. A drunk person almost pushed me off the stage but I retaliated and continued to dance to all of their tropical-bluesy-surf music that holds hypnotic sway over so many die-hard fans who will never get enough of the Growlers’ genius. When they finished, we of course screamed for more, and they played “People Don’t Change Blues” which Matt Taylor sang after he took a bra that was thrown on stage and put it on a coyote that sat next to the drums, (I swear I was not tripping). We got our last hoorah, danced and sang along, until the dear Sean Carlson told us to go off stage at the end of another magical FYF night.
- Alyssa Holland
Thanks to Burger Records Dj’s for playing sweet sounds between sets and Mike and Sean for keeping it real-
-Alyssa Holland and Adler Bloom