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The Garden Concert Review

The Garden
April 10th, 2018
The Granada - Lawrence, KS

The Garden
Orange County twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, better known as The Garden, don't fuck around when it comes to their dedication to experimentation. It's the core principle of their "vada vada" universe where there's no room for sounding boring, and absolutely no room for growing up. Since releasing their first tape on Burger Records back in 2012, the Shears brothers have been working their way up from the club circuit, all while dressing exactly how they want to and sounding exactly how they want to. The only growing up that has happened since then has been their advancements in songwriting, production, and audience size.

With the release of their second Epitaph album in March, "Mirror May Steal Your Charm," The Garden hit the road and made its first ever stop in Lawrence. In their first 10 minutes on stage, the twins made their "vada vada" approach especially clear. "U Want The Scoop?" showcased their echoing, post-Death Grips noise rap sound was followed soon after by the off-the-rails house of "All Access." As uniquely enthralling as those songs were, the music of "Mirror" pushed things even further.

The blown-out electronic drums and carnival synths that opened their song "Make A Wish," as well as the precarious breakbeats on "Banana Peel," call to mind some of the aesthetic choices present on Tyler, The Creator's "Cherry Bomb" record -- it's no surprise they were invited to play Camp Flog Gnaw the past two years. While the twins would break from playing bass or drums on these songs, they would swagger or leap and somersault -- dependent on tempo -- across the theater's stage.

The hardcore punk bite on "Stallion" -- a song that blasts past the speeds of the garage rock and dance punk songs that make up the band's backbone -- was especially impactful, considering most bands won't attempt the style without a more traditional lineup. Wyatt gripped the microphone and paced the front of the stage like any authentic eighties hardcore singer would, while his bass line played pre-recorded alongside Fletcher's live drumming. It felt liberating to watch a band take the hardcore punk sound and rip it from the traditionalist setting its scene has currently embraced so heartily. He also offered the mic to front row fans to pile-on for on "All Smiles Over Here."

Chad Wachtel of Tijuana Panthers
Less mystifying than the lack of young Kansas City "punks," who have a general distaste for records longer than 20 minutes and driving to Lawrence, was the lack of fans in general. Fewer than 200 young misfits and music lovers filled the pit at The Granada on that Tuesday night. The duo sells out venues of similar size on the coasts, so this may be another one chalked up to the Midwest kids being stereotypically late when it comes to new sounds. That lack of attendance, however, didn't detract from the vigor of the push pits and the satisfaction of their die-hard fans who came to see them -- many dressed up just for the show.

Long Beach, California garage rockers Tijuana Panthers offered a surfy and scuzzy take on the genre, not unlike that of bands who typically headline tours that hit each major city's hippest dive bars. The Panthers didn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but their steady energy and witty banter made their set enjoyable enough. When they neared the end of their 45 minute set though, the excitement they began with did start to wear off.

Cowgirl Clue opened the show by twirling along to a loosely choreographed dance routine as she sang and played the occasional synth line. Her peppy, experimental take on eighties dance pop was cheered on by the show's small early crowd.

Full photo gallery here.

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