“Don’t you guys have any freaks or weirdos in Chicago,” Growlers’ lead singer Brooks Nielsen sarcastically asked last night’s Empty Bottle Crowd after a fan flamboyantly danced on stage halfway through their set. Nielsen later requested his “gay back-up dancer” before fittingly going into their song “Gay Thoughts.” Dancing was a regular occurrence throughout the Growlers’ set, culminating in 10-15 fans, including 3 Secret Colours, walking on stage to dance out the second to last song.
The Growlers were confidently awkward in front of a large Empty Bottle Crowd, a step up from last year’s Chicago visit to Ronny’s. Though nearly every song of their dirt psych surf set sounded similar to the last, as I said to a friend beside me, “It’s a great song.” Once they had finished their set, the Growlers mingled with members of the crowd and then, I’m assuming, got back into their rickety bus with the basketball hoop nailed to the back (I have to assume that was their bus).
The highlight of the night for me, however was the Hussy’s set. Their recent LP Cement Tomb Mind Control has been in regular rotation for me, and I told several friends to arrive early to see their set.
The Hussy are a two-piece noisy garage act whose songs live pack more energy and if it’s possible seem even shorter than they do on recording. Similarly to Ty Segall, the Hussy are loud live, but unlike Ty, singer and guitarist Bobby Hussy knows how to balance his love of noise and his respect for the audience’s collective eardrum (my ears continued to ring 3 days after seeing Ty at the Empty Bottle).