Concert Review: brothers gow
By: Juan Barragan
Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market
21 August 2013
Every Wednesday in Ocean Beach, local residents go out to purchase whatever organic foods they want from the Farmers Market that sets up shop on Newport Avenue. What sets this farmers market apart from the others is the fact that you can usually catch a free show there in the early evening. The artist that played on this particular day was brothers gow, and the size of the crowd they drew caused many to stop their shopping to take in the music that was emanating from the band.
The band, originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, relocated about a year ago to Ocean Beach after trying to create a fan base in the Bay Area. Although relatively new to the San Diego music scene, brothers gow has an extensive history of making music. The band has been around since 2007, and since then, has toured relentlessly, often taking up challenges that few others have ever thought of conquering. One of those challenges included establishing the world’s first musically themed food truck back in the Bay Area, run by the members of the band, and appropriately titled, “brothers gow chow”.
To describe their music using current genres would be impossible. These guys dabble in everything from reggae, rock, funk, and hip-hop, often mixing genres within the same song which results in an interesting end product that not many have been exposed to. Their influences vary widely, ranging from 311, to The Beatles, and even Freddy Mercury. These influences are clearly heard in practically every song the band plays.
The set at the farmer’s market was comprised of the band’s original material from their first full-length album, Chapters, as well as a few songs from their EP, Ponds. One of the songs that exemplifies brothers gow’s sound is their song “Bird Flew,” which shifts from being a rock tune to being a mellow swing ballad towards the end.
Also impressive during their set was their live version of “Whud You Call Me?” This song showcased the great musical potential that the band has. The song features two main vocalists, Ethan Wade and Kyle Merrill, who complement each other very well throughout the verses. What started off as an upbeat rock song then took a turn into the heavier realm of metal, where the drummer and newest member of the gow family, Nathan Walsh, showed the crowd his ability to freestyle a drum solo. Afterward, the song had a rush of speed with Merrill shredding on guitar which then slowed down again in order to capture the sounds of the band’s keyboardist, Alex Gow Bastine. To finish this song off, the band abruptly shifted the mellow sound of the keyboard into a faster paced keyboard and guitar solo. This well coordinated section was by no means easy to play, thus showing the crowd the band’s endless amount of talent. A couple of sentences cannot possibly do justice to appropriately describe this song; to get the full experience, you would need to go to a night show to see that this extremely underrated band provides world class entertainment, many times for free.
Another notable part of brothers gow’s performance was their perfectly executed covers. This is where the different band influences are more pronounced. The people in attendance got to experience a reggae version of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” as well as reggae and rock hybrid of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” The band was so well received by the crowd that by the end of their set, they were asked to play one more song, at which point, they decided to finish off the day’s set with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
The band, which normally features a light show, is due to play Rosie O’ Grady’s in Normal Heights on August 31st, and will play Mother’s Saloon in Ocean Beach September 7th. Both shows will be free. If you are interested in listening to what this band has to offer, you can pick up their new album at one of the band’s many local shows, or online on Amazon or iTunes.