The Observatory in Santa Ana once again became “Vadaverse” on Friday night when The Garden, an experimental rock duo, returned to close out the American leg of their Mirror Might Steal Your Charm Tour.
The Garden is composed of Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, who are twin brothers based in Orange County. They released music through the Fullerton-based record label, Burger Records, before signing with Epitaph Records. The Garden’s band name refers to their music constantly growing, which is fitting for the music genre-bending duo. They refer to their style, music and essence as “Vada Vada,” a term they coined in 2011 meaning complete freedom of expression without boundaries or guidelines.
Shattered Faith, Cowgirl Clue and Tijuana Panthers opened the show, and the packed crowd at The Observatory was in for a long night.
Shattered Faith, an Orange County punk band, started the show off with high energy and got the crowd moshing through their set, which was angsty and seemed fitting for the crowd that was eager to start moving. Their classic punk-rock style was a refreshing contrast to the rest of the lineup, which was much more new wave.
Cowgirl Clue then took the stage, bringing flowers, stuffed animals and an inflatable cherry with them. Using electronic
beats and the soft vocals of lead singer Ashley Calhoun, their set was fun and danceable. The keyboards and drums were decorated with flowers, which Calhoun would dance with and throw to the crowd, much to their excitement.
Originally from Long Beach, the Tijuana Panthers brought beach rock to the crowd. Their set was a bit more laid back, with vocal responsibilities being shared by all three band members. The crowd responded by jumping, dancing and a few even crowd surfed throughout Tijuana Panthers’ set.
After the three openers, The Garden finally took the stage. Draped with a banner featuring the band’s logo and a joker, the stage slowly began to fill with smoke. The audience was filled with anticipation and the barricades began rocking moments before the Shears twins emerged.
Once two shadowy figures appeared and their creepy backing track full of laughter and electronic beats began to play, the crowd was eager for the set to get started.
Opening with “U Want The Scoop?” The Garden immediately unleashed the built-up angst of the crowd. It didn’t take long before the audience responded with moshing and crowd surfers, the band seemingly carefree toward the chaos.
Vocals were shared equally between the twins, when they weren’t playing bass or the drums, they were jumping around on stage, or even diving off of it. The crowd almost constantly moshing and jumping off of barricades to crowd surf.
There was no change in pace from the beginning to the end of the show. They had a constant rhythm and kept their energy high from start to finish. Even when it looked and sounded like pure chaos was everywhere, the twins reminded the crowd they were in charge. Every move they made was with purpose, and every lyric packed a punch. Their bass-filled backing track, sometimes interrupted by laughter, was eerie but fit their jokester nature.
The crowd sang along with the same angst and passion the twins delivered.
The band also played “Egg” and “All Smiles Over Here :),” which despite being from earlier in their career, still packed the same energetic punch that their new music has.
After closing with “All Smiles Over Here :),” the crowd chanted and asked for one more song. The Garden delivered with “Stylish Spit” as the brothers sang over an upbeat backing track and jumped around the stage to close the show.
The Garden’s style is all their own and they don’t conform to any rules; they either break them all or make their own. They stand out from other duos like Twenty One Pilots, who have fallen victim to the mainstream.
The band will leave its mark on many musical genres, and its memorable performances are only one aspect the band has to offer. The Garden’s music, essence and ability to adapt keep them original as they continue to test the boundaries between musical genres and keep Vada Vada alive.