09/29/15 – Sinclair

Chris Lynch knows how to make love to a microphone. After a silent, sweeping entrance the lead vocalist of California indie band Gardens & Villa picked up a red guitar and started a groove. Lynch kept his eyes shut as he lifted himself up onto his toes, cradling the mic with his lips. By the time Gardens & Villa hit the stage the Sinclair held about fifty people – well below its capacity. Gardens’ undeniably good vibes received more indifferent foot-tapping than energetic involvement from the audience.

The tunes flowed from Adam Rasmussen’s synthesizer and propelled the band through each song, creating an underlying energy for the set that resembled floating through a calm ocean. Some listeners fell into it, swaying with his notes, but the band had quite a sparse turnout. On the third song, Lynch dropped the guitar and sensually dipped and snaked around his microphone to the sounds of “Cruise Ship.” The group barely engaged with their small audience, aside from a handful of thank you’s. The crowd returned the same lackluster energy. Gardens, however, didn’t seem eager for that sort of attention; they were happy to keep chugging along. Their musical ambience matched well with opening acts And The Kids and Palehound. Together, the show had the relaxed feel of a basement show, but with better lighting and acoustics.

The tempo stayed heartbeat-steady up until the last couple songs of the set. The lull in musical excitement and lack of band interaction may have been why so many listeners began leaving the venue. It seemed that Gardens lost followers with every song they played– they just didn’t seem excited to play their songs. However, as they launched into “Spacetime,” the wallflowers in the venue began fluttering off their posts and moving closer to the stage. The trickle of bored attendees slowed dramatically as they transitioned into dancing away to “Spacetime.” It was by far the highest energy song of the night: Gardens appeared to enjoy playing it as much as the audience enjoyed listening. Lynch bobbed and twirled around the stage, chanting the catchy chorus, “When she speaks she tells no lie/ she is always in the nick of time / space / time.” The crowd took advantage of the dancing opportunity and appeared to genuinely enjoy themselves rather than courteously nod to the songs.

As their set began to wind down, Lynch noted that it was the last night of the two-week tour and said a few kind words about their touring buddies. It was a homecoming welcome for Palehound and their mention elicited a burst of excited applause, considering that most of the concert-goers were likely there to see the locals. Gardens played just a couple more songs, then left the stage as the audience released all their unused energy in applause and the synths rang out that last, wavering note.

Through Space and Time: Gardens & Villa
PROS
  • Consistency
  • Chill vibes
CONS
  • Lackluster
  • Minimal audience interaction
7Overall Score

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