SASHA BURIK reviews The Garden at 100 Club.
It’s a normal crowd at Oxford Street’s 100 Club on Thursday, 19th March, a small posse of smokers outside the inconspicuous door leading to the basement venue being the only indication that a gig is taking place.
The Garden’s opening act is Du Blond, aka Beth Jeans Houghton, who might vaguely be described as a blonde Amy Winehouse look-alike. Her deep, powerful voice further invokes her likeness to the famous twenty-seven clubber, but combining this with a grungy rock quality, Du Blond certainly maintains her own sound. Near the end of her set, Du Blond hypes the audience about the main act, revealing that she’d been so excited to see The Garden perform that she’d bought tickets before she knew she’d be the supporting act.
The Shears twins take the stage with little fanfare, but their performance is totally fun and organic. Showcasing music from both their earlier work, including popular album The Life And Times Of A Paperclip, and newer hits such as the single ‘Crystal Clear’, it is a mixed bag. The audience sings along enthusiastically to ‘The Apple’ – with the succinct lyrics, “Have you ever seen an apple? Have you ever seen an apple walking around?” – which first appears on the band’s 2012 album Rainbows & Happiness. Then quite a few audience members take to the stage about halfway through the set, with Wyatt Shears missing not a single beat on bass, his unmistakable vocals with their precise intonation and unfaltering syncopation, as one fan dances all around him. Fletcher has just as much fun when he isn’t behind the drum kit: he flits across stage, stands up on some equipment in a far corner with his back comically to the stage, and goes for a bit of crowd surfing. The set, like many of The Garden’s songs, is short but very groovy.
It is exciting to see the Shears twins finally tour Europe, having already amassed a following of dedicated fans in their home province of Orange County, California. In a documentary directed by Liza Mandelup (Twinheads, 2015), one of the twins comments in a voice-over, ‘I guess this is sort of the age where kids start moving out and people start, like, trying to build their own lives or whatever, but living [in Orange County] is all we know at this point and we are comfortable with it.’ The Shears twins do seem very at ease with themselves and the audience as they occupy the stage at the 100 Club, showcasing their offbeat music with great skill and no pretensions.
Photos: Andrea Leimos
The Garden played at 100 Club, Soho on 19/03/2015.