December 19, 2018. The Growlers at House of Blues. Brooks Nielsen returns to the stage after a seemingly complete set. Drawn to his shaggy figure, somewhat representative of a drunkard by the beach, hundreds crowd beneath him like a shepherd and his flock— only the shepherd is a saint that entrances his subjects with psychedelic and a splash of ghoulish surf rock.

Moving in harmony with others around me, I can’t help but laugh at the intimacy I feel with these strangers who are all captivated by the same thing.

As he sings “Dull Boy,” I am reminded of my own struggles without any sense of belonging or identity

“Searching for a pulse in any given scene.”

When “Good Advice,” comes on, I can relate to

“You think that you know more

About being, being lonely

But I get so lonely

No one’s allowed to hold me, hold me”

As my anxiety takes over knowing that I am alone in my depression.

As my failures play over and over again in my head, like some sort of inescapable nightmare, Nielsen reassures me in “Going Gets Tough” that

“Worry’s a bully”


“I [should] refuse to accept

That my work is all in vain”

Because I

“Will [be] reward[ed] soon enough.”

Whether it be the appeal of their somewhat paradoxical “beach goth” melody or their raw, unconventional lyrics that resonate with my soul, I can’t help but be drawn in to their music like a moth to light.

Clawing my way to the front, soaked in sweat, alcohol and plenty of other substances a teenager should not use, I look at the figure on the stage, clad in a white leather jacket, in reverence.

Photo Credits: Christian Park