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Live Review: The Growlers, The Babe Rainbow, Cassowarys

14 January 2019 | 5:53 pm | Nicolas Huntington

"With Callinan and Neilsen intertwined on stage as the lights go down and the last chords ring out, it’s a beautiful motif for us to journey off into the Valley on."

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With one of Australia's greatest psych-rock exports teaming up with the kings of beach-goth, The Valley Drive In is a hub for chill vibes on this muggy Friday night. 

Cassowarys hit the stage with youthful vigour, obviously with a mindset to impress the lukewarm smaller crowd. With a heavier sound that taps into surf and blues-rock while switching it up with hip hop influences on occasion, the boys go down a treat. The temperature of punters definitely raises a few degrees as a mosh starts to take shape.  

Following on are The Babe Rainbow. Hitting the stage in their usual '60s psychedelic outfits, the five-piece are joined by a member of The Growlers for opening number Love Forever. Without a doubt, the star of the set is the lead singer's technicolour umbrella. For the first three tracks, the umbrella puts the audience into a trance before he drops it and the crowd take over duties with eruptions from each punter who gives it a spin. Before long the frontman brings out a Sherwood Central shopping centre tote bag to use as a cape – the crowd are enthralled by the accessories and the local love: “This wouldn’t happen in Melbourne.” 

With the outdoor bar running out of beer, it’s obvious this show is very, very sold out (potentially overbooked) and the crowd spills into the nearby carpark. As the lights go out, the especially huge crowd erupts. The Growlers waltz on and open with Night Ride, with singer Brooks Neilsen donning an oversized beret and coat. Personal favourite Acid Rain gets a beautiful flogging as each track sees The Growlers jamming more and more. One Million Lovers, Empty Bones and recent single Who Loves The Scum? get the mosh starting to move, but there is a disappointing lack of boogie circles across the crowd (bit hard when you can barely open your arms). A pleasant surprise comes when Kirin J Callinan emerges on stage like a knight in shining armour (including chain mail) for the second half of the set to generally shred and be his individualist self. Callinan gets roars of love with every pose, injecting some much-needed energy into the slightly draining two-hour set. Closing with the beautiful Going Gets Tough, there is a collective sway that almost gets in sync across the strong crowd but alas. With Callinan and Neilsen intertwined on stage as the lights go down and the last chords ring out, it’s a beautiful motif for us to journey off into the Valley on.