The Growlers are no strangers to New York City. They’ve been coming here annually since the band’s free show in the Financial District nearly a decade ago. While they traditionally stop in Brooklyn, this year, the psychedelic surf-rockers out of California threw down in the middle of Manhattan for a wild Saturday night matinee at SummerStage NYC in Central Park.

Over time, their music has evolved from the primitive, lo-fi, “Beach Goth”—a term coined by the band—into the realms of urban, synthesized beats as perfectly described by their 2016 album, City Club. Since their formation in 2006, The Growlers have been on various international tours and appeared at scores of festivals including their own Beach Goth Festival, which has been celebrated on seven occasions with increasingly stacked lineups. While several of the band members have moved on, the three faces frontstage were the familiar mugs of singer Brooks Neilson and guitarists Matt Taylor and Kyle Straka.

The band’s setlist at Central Park was comprised predominantly of tracks from their newer releases. The Growlers opened with “Problems III” off their latest release, Casual Acquaintances. The album was comprised of mostly demos and unused material from City Club, which followed on the setlist with the tune, “Night Ride”. They went back to Gilded Pleasures and Hung At Heart—both released in 2013—for “Hiding Under Covers” & “Naked Kids” before returning to City Club for “Dope on a Rope.”

The six-piece band performed “One Million Lovers” from Hung at Heart before entering the realms of their 2014 album, Chinese Fountain, with “Black Memories” & “Love Test”, casually paced like a stroll on the boardwalk. This album presented their new-age sound for the first time, getting away from their beachy, surf rock reverberations. The Growlers jumped back into Hung at Heart territory with a hopefully romantic take on “Someday” before hitting the more recent “Heaven in Hell” and “When You Were Made” off Casual Acquantices and City Club, respectively.

Next, The Growlers rattled off three singles that have yet to find their way on albums, a rare treat for the NYC crowd. “Try Hard Fool” presented an eighties-style, retro-electro beat with Brooks’ smooth vocals flowing with the euphonic rhythms. “Natural Affair” presented a clear case for the band’s departure from surf-rock and into haunted pop. “Monotonia” resurrected their old sounds to resemble a flickering, fluorescent reflection off of broken glass, advertising the vacancy of a brothel to the vagrants of the night.

The only tune of the night from 2010’s Hot Tropics, “Nosebleed Sun”, emerged next with its skipping beat and desert feel reminiscent of the band’s psychedelic early days. “Not the Man”’s pulsing modern beat bled into the archaic sound of “Derka Blues” before digging up a true relic, “Empty Bones”, off their 2009 debut album, Are You In or Out?

Two more tracks from Casual Acquaintances followed with “Pavement and the Boot” and “Decoy Face” played consecutively, as they appear on the album. Both songs swap the naturally rough edge in Brooks’ vocals for a more polished, reverbed angle. The haunted echoes of his vocals can be characterized as an acid trip in an amusement park’s house of mirrors complete with smoke and strobe lights to further push the listener into the unconfined depths of their own reflection.

Who Loves the Scum?”, another recent single that has been issued without an album, followed with its punchy riff juxtaposing an upbeat rhythm—think Romantic’s “That’s What I Like About You”—with its contrasting post-apocalyptic lyrics of “Wait for the crumblin’ sky / rain down radiated love.” Appropriately, two more City Club tunes were played next as “Vacant Lots” and “City Club” resonated within the hearts of the metropolitan crowd. The disco beat of “Chinese Fountain” finally danced its way into “Humdrum Blues” to end the extended two-hour set.

For their encore, The Growlers performed a succinct rendition of “I’ll Be Around” off City Club. Due to the strict ten o’ clock curfew, the last song, “Going Gets Tough”, was cut unceremoniously short as Brooks thanked the band and acknowledged the futility of continuing against the restrictions.

All in all, it was one helluva night of music that showcased their most recent work; much to the delight of newer fans and the disappointment of the older crowd who longed for the sun-bleached psychedelic riffs that cemented the band’s future as a headlining act.

Check out some photos from the performance below via photographer Otis Sinclair.

For a full list of upcoming The Growlers tour dates, head here.