It's no easy feat getting an OC crowd to drop their own pretense and just have a good time at a concert but the boys of Gardens & Villa did just that at the Constellation Room this past Friday night with a thrilling set equal parts retro and very now. I'm a sucker for good synthpop and Gardens & Villa make some very good synthpop indeed.
There's a real passion, a fire present when the Santa Barbara natives took to the stage. It's an enthusiasm that bled over into the crowd, setting everyone off into a euphoric frenzy of dance and elation. The band gave the packed house its all, leaving the room a hot, sweaty mess by night's end.
There was a moment during the set that stuck out and made me realize just how special this band is. Midway through, the five piece took a break from playing their own songs to perform a version of Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy." It's to the band's credit that I didn't even realize I was listening to a song I'd heard countless times on the radio at first. They very much made it their own and had me moved by a song that meant little to me beforehand.
Gardens & Villa is currently touring the US throughout the remainder of 2014, including additional west coast stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz this winter. The new album, Dunes, is available from Secretly Canadian. For more info be sure to visit
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