This past fall, Australian indie pop quartet, The Griswolds, released their diverse sophomore album High Times For Low Lives. The album builds on their anthemic radio-friendly debut and proceeds to steer through an eclectic mix of rock, electronic pop, R&B, hip-hop, and even some groove-laden funk. The band does a formidable job of transitioning through the varied influences while delivering a set of what is ultimately shiny well-produced pop. The band have hit the tour trail to kick off 2017, and embarked on a headlining run of dates in the US. The Low Lives Tour recently stopped at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro NC.
The sold-out crowd was buzzing by the time local Raleigh indie rockers Ghostt Bllonde kicked off the opening set of the evening. Lead singer Marc Kuzio stayed in constant motion as he led the band through a set of jangly guitar rock backed by satisfying harmonies and undercut with a rockabilly/surf guitar sensibility. Holding down an opening slot can be tough for bands, often times people are still filing into the venue or they are clearly disinterested. That was certainly not the case this evening. Ghostt Bllonde grabbed the audience’s attention and held it. They are one of those bands that seem to get better each time you see them, and this performance was no exception.
Next up was indie-rock trio Dreamers. Touring behind their debut album This Album Does Not Exist, which was released last summer, Dreamers performed with a confidence and swagger that would have left plenty of veteran acts envious. Their set was filled with clever lyrics, solid melodies, and catchy hooks delivered with a punk flair. Standout songs included, “Cry Out For Me,” “Drugs,” and “Wolves (You Got Me).” The vibe was light-hearted fun and Dreamers definitely engaged the crowd, getting bodies moving and arms waving, at one point during “Painkiller,” singer Nick Wold hopped off stage and into the middle of the swirling mass of bodies, firing up the audience, before meandering his way back to the stage. Dreamers closed out their all too short set leaving the crowd dazed and ultimately impressed.
The bar was set pretty high by Dreamers, but the Griswolds appeared ready to take the challenge and they hit the stage with their foot firmly on the accelerator as they launched into “Role Models,” the opening track from High Times For Low Lives. Singer Chris Whitehall and lead guitarist Daniel Duque-Perez immediately moved to the edge of the stage, almost leaning into the crowd, as they performed. With bassist Tim John and drummer Lachlan West providing the driving low end and solid pounding beat, the band tore through a well-mixed set of songs that included new tracks like “Out Of My Head,” “Rufio,” and “Birthday,” with crowd favorites “16 Years,” “Right On Track,” and a full audience sing-along take on the title track of their debut album, “Be Impressive.” As the set wore on, the audience evolved into a massive frenzied dance party. With their fans clearly on the ropes, the Griswolds brought it home with “Beware the Dog,” and a throwback to their earliest work with “Heart of a Lion.” The Griswolds delivered an addictive high-energy dose of pop-rock that left both the band and audience covered in smiles.