The Growlers and Broncho at the Crossroads – 9/4/2019

The Growlers at Crossroads KC
Photo by Josh Chaikin

Wow folks – better late then never, eh? This has got to be the very latest I’ve ever submitted a write up. Funny how real life gets in the way of rock n’ roll. To make matters even funnier, I left this show feeling like it was the feel good hit of the summer: The night was warn, but not Kansas City summer sticky, the crowd was jazzed up and beautiful, and the drinks were flowing like the good vibes that were coming off of the stage.

The night started off with an unusual twist of fate. Our fearless leader and man behind the camera handed me my ticket – now this isn’t out of the ordinary – but as I approached the ticket attendant, I was told to go to the other line at the far end of the parking lot – for VIP!!! Excellent start I must say! VIP may be a lifestyle to some, a mindset to others, and for a select few, an invitation to taste the good life at the Crossroads. The fiery redhead making sure the bar ran smoothly was none other than my carrot-topped comrade, Britney! This totally bodacious start to a show is one that can’t be matched in a while – and the music hadn’t even started.

Before the Growlers could hit the stage, we were treated to the blissful sounds of BRONCHO. These indie rock darlings from Norman, OK have been doing their thing since 2010. Current lineup consists of Ryan Lindsey on guitar and vocals, Ben King on guitars, Penny Pitchlynn on bass and Nathan Price on drums. Broncho is neither stranger to playing with the Growlers, nor their own forms of success, having had their music featured in television and movies. Coming off of their October 2018 release, “Bad Behavior”, Broncho rounded out the opening with their nuanced rock and punk spirit.

The Growlers took the stage not long after Broncho finished their set. Although the Jay Man and I had some time to chill and really take in our elevated status at the Crossroads, the Growlers hardly wasted anytime setting up for their ravenous fans. Prior to any music, the only answer I got to “What brought you here?” was just two simple words: The Growlers.

The Growlers started in 2006 in Dana Point, California. The current lineup is singer Brooks Nielsen, lead guitarist Matt Taylor and keyboard player/guitarist Kyle Straka. The Growlers have largely been described as Beach Goth. Prior to the show, I didn’t have a clue what that meant, and I’m still not sure I do know – but my best guess is the sound they produce. Not being ones to pigeon-hole themselves in the indie garage rock fad that may have left them as a memory, The Growlers have elevated their sound since their beginning in 06 to encompass a larger mix of influences while staying unique. Beach Goth, to me at least, was the fusion of surf rock sounds, psychedelic rock, and a little bit of early Robert Smith. It shouts, “I’m moody, but damnit, I’m having a good time”. The Growlers played an extensive set, with 2 encores to boot. Long time fans, newbies to the band, and even casual observers – I believe that they all left with another great show under their belts.

Despite missing almost 20 days between the show and this review, the Growlers are still busy at it. Having stated this tour in Kansas City, the Growlers have been playing extensively, only slow down a bit in October, then hit Europe in 2020

Photos by Josh Chaikin
Words by Dallas Hessel

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