This was my first Lobsterfest. I’ve been down to the Port of Los Angeles a few times before. One of those visits ended in a mild case of food poisoning from possibly-rotting shrimp. Ever since then I’ve been scared off the place and paranoid about only eating de-veined shrimp. People, if they show you how to de-vein a shrimp in almost any seafood episode of any Food Network cooking show, it’s probably pretty important.
Fears of a toilet-based death aside – for $18 (on top of the price of admission) you received a lobster, a cup of strange always-melted butter, a side of potatoes, coleslaw, a bread roll and one tiny handiwipe. I’m always a little worried about having to deconstruct your own seafood – all those tiny flying bits of shell! The splatter of juice! The sheer violence! Julia Child was REALLY good at it. I was doing just fine until I got into the really gnarly green guts of the bug – which grossed out two possibly vegetarian girls standing at the table next to us.
Apparently we lucked out walking up and picking up a lobster within 10 minutes. On the way out of the ‘fest, we noticed extremely long lines had formed for food.
Getting a drink proved to be another queue-up. I don’t drink Bud Light or any derivatives there of, so I drank two of those “mojitos” you can buy in a bottle now. The kind that get 19 year old girls drunk at frat parties. Classy.
But fuck the lobsters and whore-mojitos (whore-itos?) and people wearing lobster hats. I came to see the Growlers!
I’ve seen these guys a few times before, most notably, when they opened up for Devendra Banhart in small club in Santa Barbara last year. I’ve also seen them play the Echo – a thick crowd of young girls immediately swarmed the front of the stage when they came on.
They have a jangly, echo-y 60s vibe, but a better writer has also referred to their sound as psychedelic swamp rock. During their sound check, lead singer Brooks Nielsen kept asking for more, more reverb for his vocals.
This here’s my favorite Growlers’ song – Old Cold River – the one that truly feels like sexy humid swamp rock.
Things girls notice? The guy who plays the bongos and additional percussion has a heart tattooed at the corner of his eye where a cholo/a would normally have his teardrop tat. Just a detail. (He also kind of looks like a pirate.)
The crowd down in front was very young. I’m talking zits-all-over-their-faces-get-excited-by-the-smell-of-marijuana-smoke young. The combination of the realization of my own inevitable aging plus the realization that I was going to have to line up for another bottled mojito was enough to drive me away from the rest of the fest. We did not stay until Dengue Fever. Pal InlandEmpirical had more patience though.
So Lobsterfest next year, yes or no? Totally depends on the bands. The lure of lukewarm lobster devoured standing up isn’t enough to bring me back – though if I return – next time, I’ll be armed with a flask.