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Live Review: The Growlers, Wawawow

10 November 2017 | 9:52 am | Luke Saunders

"No one could steal the show from Brooks."

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Wawawow really got things going quick, with driving psych-rock jams that sounded like the Beastie Boys playing Space Invaders.

Pretty much every possible effect was at play somewhere in the guitar, synth and vocal, but it all sounded great while the rises and tempo changes were complex and tight. Although the lead guitar never broke sonic ground it did steer the ship with some really interesting psych riffs. If you've ever wanted to go to a cosmic nightclub of the future, these are your guys.

"Here we go!" said Brooks Nielsen as he ran on for the first of three sold-out shows at the Oxford Art Factory and The Growlers launched into a two-hour set with One Million Lovers. Sporting a sweater and crazed blond hair, Brooks looked somewhat like an electrocuted Draco Malfoy and brought that energy to the stage. The Californian surf rock band played predominantly pre-City Club tracks, grooving to their laid-back yet punchy tunes. There was plenty of space for the punters to knock around and get sweaty as the band moved onto Dull Boy and Big Toe. A few women on the front rail, between getting squashed by the mosh, stroked Brooks' legs longingly if he got too close, which seemed to make him slightly uncomfortable. People Don't Change Blues was up next, followed by Chinese Fountain, which was a definite crowd pleaser thanks to its witty lyrics. The band rocked on but no one could steal the show from Brooks as his quirky dance moves and unique voice seduced the crowd into his Californian dreams. Closing cover Good Name, by influential Nigerian funk artist William Onyeabor, was a welcome surprise that had the crowd screaming for more.

"You knew we'd come back... Love you," said Brooks as the band came on for the encore. City Club single I'll Be Around went down well before Going Gets Tough hit the nail on the head in every way.

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