Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



BENT NIGHTS The Growlers; Meat Wave
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester

This article shared 1763 times since Wed Mar 22, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

How California rockers The Growlers suddenly became the latest "it" band is rather unclear.

The act's latest full-length, City Club ( on Cult Records ), is hardly a departure from its previous five, and the involvement of co-producer and Strokes front man Julian Casablancas counts as irrelevant. ( He has been involved with the band for years. ) What is obvious is that, as The Growlers' sold-out show at The Metro on March 10 proved, the band mastered the art of making music that makes "grooving" sexy and fashionable again.

Granted, The Growlers ( vocalist Brooks Nielsen, keyboards/banjoist Kyle Straka and guitarist Matt Taylor ) have always tweaked California rock with a touch of weirdness while rescuing it from the dullness of the early Eagles ( "peaceful easy feeling?," uh no. ). Where Glenn Frey and Don Henley created soundtracks for a glimmering metropolis with a touch of hip twang, The Growlers gently mix pop, country, surf, beat, reggae, and Goth ( they call it "Beach Goth" ) and quietly boil it down to a low key concoction. The combination of Neilsen's oddball lyrics and mid-range pseudo croon with Taylor's other worldly guitar work produce dreamy, engaging, wicked little slow jaws that throb rather then percolate. With these guys the point seems to be to bliss out rather than to rock out.

If City Club suggests a variety of styles and flavors co-habituating in the same song, the biggest achievement, as is typical of The Growlers entire discography, is the way it absorbs them without sacrificing the personality of the band. The title track provides Neilsen with an atypical solid hook, but that's as close to AM radio as this gets.

The show at The Metro revealed all the components the CD suggested, but the addition of three touring musicians elevated what feels subtle on record, turning things into a mildly churning near-three-hour jam session. Maybe City Club takes a little time to cast its spell, but the show was enchanting in a slightly dirty funky way from the start.

Trading in western wear ( those embroidered suits made them look like a Mariachi band ) for something more utilitarian ( skull caps and dusters ), the band kicked off with "Wandering Eyes" and rolled out with hearty helpings of older material ( "Gay Thoughts," "Good Advice," "People Don't Change Blues," "Big Toe" ) mixed with the new. ( As expected, "City Club" came late in the show and gave Nielsen his big pop moment, while "Dope On A Rope" and "The Daisy Chain" were playful and sweet. ) For all Nielsen's low-key humor and goofy dance moves, the night clearly belonged to Taylor, whose elegiac guitar lines gave the music a haunting, supernatural allure.

If The Growlers seem to embrace subtlety as their strongest personality traits, Chicago punk queer favorites Meat Wave love shitting all over it. The trio ( vocalist/guitarist Chris Sutter, bassist Joe Gac and drummer Ryan Wisniack ) broke out with the ferocious Delusion Moon ( SideOneDummy Records, 2015 ) managing not only to establish themselves while re-igniting Chicago's flagging punk scene ( along with Ne Hi and Twin Peaks ) and inadvertently justifying the importance of the local DIY scene. With storied producer Steve Albini twiddling the knobs, the release of the new The Incessant ( SideOneDummy Records ) promised to be the first major local event of the year.

The three of them still look like escapees from the old Waltons TV show, but the sheer thunder of Delusion Moon has turned into something bizarre and unexpected here.

My favorite is the opener, "To Be Swayed," which finds Sutter whipping off lyrics at a moderate level ( for him ) over a bed of pinging rhythms courtesy of Wizniak and Gac. Suddenly the song goes bonkers as Sutter rips through the chorus with an elegant and terrifying vocal swoon that's positively hair raising and delightful and the song comes off as alluring and brutal. Of course it is a Meat Wave record and there are plenty of muscular punk rave-ups ( "Glass Teeth," "Run You Out," "Tomosaki" ) along with sharp detours in strange directions. "Leopard Skin Jet Ski" toys with arch art rock while depicting an innocent nerd day dream while "Birdland" plummets into existential despair and what sounds like a vast bottom less canyon.

For all of that experimentation and versatility when Meat Wave hit the stage at The Empty Bottle in front of a rabid audience for its sold-out show on Feb. 25 ( they were turning non-ticket holders away by the droves ), all bets were off. Live, the band still packs a merciless punch—and hearing chunks of The Incessant live turned all that artiness on its head with a vengeance.

Coupled with Ne Hi's sold-out show the night before at the same venue, its clear that the Chicago DIY scene is thriving.

Heads up: The second PWR BTM show at Subterranean Tavern on May 31 is sold out.

This article shared 1763 times since Wed Mar 22, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Diplo and more to headline Lollapalooza on Aug. 3-6 2023-03-21
--From a press release - (Chicago—March 21, 2023) Lollapalooza has unveiled a powerhouse lineup for the 2023 edition, featuring first-time headliners Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish along with Red Hot Chili Peppers, ODESZA, Lana Del Rey, Karol G, who will make ...

Gay News

Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera 2023-03-17
- It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...

Gay News

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces its 2023-24 season 2023-03-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO (3/14/2023) — Lyric Opera of Chicago, led by General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud and Music Director Enrique Mazzola, today announces the company's 2023/24 Season, which takes audiences on a global tour of opera ...

Gay News

House Musical, Coming of Age in the Age of House, coming to Hoover-Leppen Theatre 2023-03-14
--From a press release - Campsongs Productions presents the world premiere of House Musical - Coming of Age in the Age of House, with book by Marcus Waller, music by Scott Free (with Michael Foley) and lyrics by Scott Free and ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot, DCASE announce dates for summer festivals and events 2023-03-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO—Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the 2023 dates for some of the City of Chicago's most beloved summertime traditions. Returning festivals and events include ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal 2023-03-10
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes, Jonas Brothers, 'Queen of Versailles,' 'Bloodshed' 2023-03-04
Adam Lambert video below - Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes' new comedy special, I'm An Entertainer, will premiere globally on Netflix on May 23, a press release announced. The special, directed by Linda Mendoza, was filmed in early February 2023 at Philadelphia's ...

Gay News

Singer Zolita zips through Chicago on a whirlwind tour 2023-02-28
- Zoe Montana Hoetzel has evolved into the multidimensional artist known as Zolita while cultivating a massive following. Her personality is multifaceted as well. She identifies as a lesbian, an activist and a witch, but she's also ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Black queer films, Janet Jackson, Paramore, WNBA, GALECA contest 2023-02-19
- Queerty ran a piece on 10 films that celebrate Black queer love. Some of them include The Skinny (with Jussie Smollett), Dee Rees' movie Pariah, the Oscar-winning Moonlight, the Marlon Riggs classic Tongues Untied, Brother to ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Cabaret continues to reflect on our modern challenges 2023-02-14
- Title: Cabaret. Book: Joe Masteroff; Score: John Kander & Fred Ebb. At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 773-777-9884 or; prices begin at $25. Runs through ...

Gay News

Goran Stolevski grows up fast with Of an Age 2023-02-14
- Openly gay filmmaker Goran Stolevski is a triple threat: He handled directing, writing and editing chores for his new project, Of an Age, which Focus Features is now distributing. The film is already taking home trophies ...

Gay News

Queer songwriter donates $500K to Chicago Academy for the Arts 2023-02-13
- Returning to the school that they said saved their life years ago and set them on a path to becoming one of the most celebrated activists and songwriters of the modern era, it was announced Feb. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Isaac Mizrahi, Viola Davis, Laura Jane Grace, Elton John, GLAAD 2023-02-11
- On Sherri Shepherd's talk show, entertainer/fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi said he'd love for out actor Dan Levy to portray him in a potential biopic based on Mizrahi's memoir, I.M., The Wrap noted. "Dan Levy, OK," Mizrahi ...

Gay News

Windy City Gay Chorus, Windy City Treble Quire present Our Common Thread: Songs of Love, Loss, Life 2023-02-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO - The Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire are excited to announce their upcoming 2023 spring concert, Our Common Thread: Songs of Love, Loss and Life, under the direction of Dr. Eric ...

Gay News

CGMC to re-create music videos in drag with 'Lipstick & Lyrics: On MTV' 2023-02-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO—Chicago Gay Men's Chorus presents their annual live-singing drag show, Lipstick & Lyrics. This year's theme: On MTV. Come enjoy CGMC's drag performers as they recreate epic music videos. With dancers, costumes and sass, these live ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.