Photos By: Melissa Murray

By: Lara McCaffrey

Chinese Fountain, the newest Growlers release, sounds softer than previous efforts both lyrically and sonically. Despite a slight change in sound, the Growlers live show hasn’t gone soft as evidenced by the concert turned party thrown at the Belly Up Monday night.

To kick off Part I of the Growlers at the Belly Up double feature, a member of the Growlers posse strutted out in a cracked out Mrs. Claus outfit. With his red dress slipping off his chest, Mrs. Claus kicked into a karaoke segment after declaring: “It’s Monday, my fucking tits are out, let’s get DRUNK.”

After Mrs. Claus sang 10 minutes of hits like Simple Minds’ “Homospaien,” the beach goths walked onstage. As the Growlers plugged in their instruments they slid into “Big Toe,” the opener on Chinese Fountain.

Instead of relying on old favorites like “Acid Rain” and “Hum Drum Blues,” to please the crowd, the Growlers played tons of new tracks. The sweet, yearning ballad, “Love Test,” the mellow “Black Memories,” and organ driven “Good Advice” had the crowd jumping onstage, moshing and crowd surfing all the same.

The Growlers have a reputation for their strange antics like wearing dresses at Coachella, covering Tonetta on Good Day LA and utilizing a bedsheet as clothing in interviews. However, don’t let this evidence fool you into thinking they’re not serious musicians. This quintet has put out albums frequently, is constantly touring and plays engaging, fun, tight sets.

Indeed, Chinese Fountain has more serious lyrical content and a mellower vibe than past efforts. However, the energy of the live show is still fun and theatrical. Monday and Tuesday nights were the band’s San Diego stops for this year but please, for a good time, mark your calendar next time they come around.