The Griswolds Take Over the Velvet Underground


By: Chantel Ouellet

Photo Courtesy of the Griswold's Facebook

Photo Courtesy of the Griswold’s FacebookThe Griswolds came into my life in a pretty random way. Last summer while I was lying on my bed, I heard this catchy beat coming from the apartment above mine. I would go on to hear that beat almost every day as my neighbours blared it and sang along. I’m pretty close with them, so one day I finally asked one of them, “Hey, what’s that super catchy song you always play?” I was told it was The Griswolds’s “Beware the Dog,” and I downloaded it immediately.

The Griswolds are a four-piece indie rock band from Sydney, Australia. The band is composed of Chris Whitehall (vocals/guitar), Tim John (bass), Daniel Duque-Perez (guitar/synth) and Lachlan West (drummer). Their music invokes images of late night parties and afternoons in the sun.

the newspaper had a chance to catch up with lead singer Chris Whitehall in the fall to find out a little more about the inspiration behind their second studio album, High Times For Low Lives (2016). This album showed solid growth from the sunshine party rock of Be Impressive (2014), and while it was still about having a good time, it was a little more introspective.

High Times For Low Lives is what brought them to Toronto for their only Canadian stop on their tour. Opening for them was Toronto-based indie rock band Romes and the touring openers, Believers. Romes has mastered the art of getting a crowd riled up. They use catchy and danceable singles such as “Believe” and “Tryna Be” to get the crowd moving. Their infectious chemistry and witty banter ensures everyone will be singing and laughing along.

Dreamers put on a phenomenal opening set with their hits “Drugs” and “Sweet Disaster” off This Album Does Not Exist (2016). A highlight was when the lead singer, Nick Wold, got the whole crowd to howl with him as they launched into their song “Wolves” to close their set.

The Griswolds entered the stage and immediately launched into the hit single “Role Models” off their latest album. Their energy and charisma poured out into the crowd with each hit that they played. They effortlessly rolled through crowd favourites such as “16 Years,” “Out Of My Head” and “Right on Track.” Whitehall’s voice was effortless and charming as he belted out the lyrics and moved around the stage. You could see how humbled the band felt as the young crowd aggressively sang along to “Be Impressive.” They rounded out their set with a few more hit songs such as “Live This Nightmare” and “If You Wanna Stay.”

Near the end of the set they played “I Want It All,” with Chris confessing to the crowd that it was one of his favourites off their newest album. The track is slower and more ominous than some of their others, adding a reflective tone to the end of the night. It reminded the audience that while The Griswolds have accomplished so much, they are capable of even more. Almost a way of saying that this isn’t a goodbye for the night, but instead a “Can’t wait to see you next tour!” They brought the vibes back up by closing the show with the upbeat “Down and Out.”

As the band exited the stage, the young, all-ages crowd seemed a little confused by the encore process as they shyly cheered and clapped, unsure of how long it was expected to go on for. The older crowd members and opener band members standing at the back helped show them the ropes by cheering loudly. As they came back on they brought along Nick Wold from Dreamers and launched into a rowdy cover of OutKast’s iconic “Hey Ya!” Honestly, this is such a good song for a cover, and Chris absolutely nailed the vocals right down to the “now all my Beyonces and Lucy Lus.” The Griswolds put on an amazing show that is sure to be remembered, or at least enough to keep the fans satisfied until the next time they’re in town. When they do come back, we recommend you go see them.

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