There aren’t many cities that can support two major music festivals in the same month let alone on the same weekend but that is what Los Angeles attempted. While Tyler the Creator‘s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival was taking place in Exposition Park, the Growlers hosted The Growlers 6 down at the LA Waterfront.
Formerly the Beach Goth festival, the Growlers 6 packed a line up of mostly bands you didn’t know were still together and bands you probably have never heard of. In the first category falls day two headliner, Butthole Surfers. The newly re-united Surfers played a psychedelic set with bizarre horror movie projections behind them. The crowd who was probably most familiar with Electriclarryland or more specifically their hit song “Pepper.” “Pepper” was the only song BHS played from the album and they didn’t even play the full song just one chorus and a verse before breaking into something else. Needless to say, a lot of the crowd dissipated after that. For the diehards that specifically came to the festival to see the Surfers or at least the concert goers who were very very stoned, it was a pretty perfect set concluding with “Who Was in My Room Last Night?”
Another of Sunday’s standout performances came from the B-52’s. Although they have not released new material in almost a decade, the band does still tour and sounds great doing it. Despite Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson both being in their 60s, their voices have not lost their timber. Particularly, Pierson’s Yma Sumac-like range is as impressive as ever. The band had one of the most well attended sets of the festival with only really the Growlers and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs drawing more fans to one stage.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the standout performance from Saturday with their headlining set. It was mentioned during the set that the band hadn’t played out in over four years and only are playing four shows this year. Karen O‘s enigmatic stage presence and costume changes made for a captivating set with the band ripping through a set of classics including “Zero,” “Sacrilege,” “Maps,” and “Heads Will Roll.”
Other artists that you might not have known are still playing shows that appeared Growlers 6 included Jonathan Richman, Geto Boys, Juvenile, Hepcat, Bad Brains, and Fear.
There were some great performances to come out of the lesser known ranks as well. Los Angeles punk band, The Paranoyds dressed as dalmatians for their blistering set where they played the majority of their latest EP, Eat Their Own.
All female quartet, La Luz dressed up as nuns for their mid-afternoon set on Saturday. Their brand of surf rock fused with doo-wop was exactly the type of music a sunny day on the waterfront needed.