The Growlers Canadian Stage, Ottawa ON, July 11

The Growlers Canadian Stage, Ottawa ON, July 11
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
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Despite receiving little press coverage outside of their home base of Orange County, California, the Growlers drew a sizable crowd of fans eager to see the five-piece make their Ottawa debut.
 
Dressed in late-'70s, Smokey and the Bandit-inspired garb, the Growlers entered the stage with a laid-back, tossed-off vibe, seemingly perfect for their 30-degree, late-afternoon time slot. Led by vocalist Brooks Nielsen, the Growlers launched into an hour-long set that focused heavily on tracks from their latest LP, Chinese Fountain. Grasping the mic, Nielsen stayed close to the edge of the stage, pantomiming his playful lyrics while striking up charming banter with the steadily growing crowd. With a slew of new material that could be described as more dance-y than their two previous recordings, Nielsen delivered his drawn-out Julian Casablancas-style delivery over the band's punchy, psych-inspired garage rhythms.
 
Known for their highly theatrical club performances that find the band decked out in gaudy costumes, the Growlers seemed slightly out of their element in a festival setting, giving the audience a bare-bones, abridged version of their stage show. But it was the band's presence alone was enough to satisfy hardcore fans while their tight musicality, paired with Nielsen's buoyant, hip personality, that helped the Growlers win over some new fans.