The Wildbirds and the Growlers, Detroit Bar, August 6, 2007
With their lean, snake-hipped, bejeaned bodies, lank hair and chiseled features, the Wildbirds have the classic 1975 rock look down pat. And their music follows suit: unapologetic rock and roll that screams Ford administration Rolling Stones/Aerosmith/Tom Petty. “421” is a hit single with the right monetary elbow grease behind it; “Shake Shake” will inspire much of its titular action; country-esque yearner “Suzanna” will cause a lot of lighter launching. All told, these Wisconsin Wildbirds have the energy, chops, hooks and looks to blow up—or at least score a lot of 'tang on tour.
OC wastrels the Growlers initially struck me as disciples of the Link Wray/Duane Eddy school of surf-guitar twang, as if they were in quaint obeisance to early-'60s rock and roll. As their set progressed, the Growlers shifted into more of a woozy lilt that reminded me of the Doors' cover of Brecht-Weill's “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” and then accelerated into some rambling gypsy rock that hinted at Man Man's more conventional moments. The performance became a showcase of that old good-time drinking music (as opposed to that new bad-time drinking music). And the crowd was guzzling it down. One hot young brunette got onstage and started dancing, then wrested off the singer's white T-shirt from his scrawny torso. Later, two of her equally fetching female friends joined her to dance onstage. Dunno if they were band girlfriends or what, but nonetheless, the Growlers generated an impressive party atmosphere for a Monday night. Their music possesses an insidious infectiousness that sneaks up on you like inebriation after a few sweet libations.