Before I was aware that Gardens & Villa were scheduled to play a (postponed) concert at UCLA this month, I had already bought my tickets to see this fantastic band in Santa Barbara on Friday, February 24th. I had only seen the band play once before at their CD release party last July, where I was greatly impressed by their energy and musicianship – and they did not disappoint upon second viewing.
This gig was held at the cultural center Casa de le Raza, with California-based opening acts House of Wolves and Crystal Antlers. The first group was a duo playing laid-back acoustic music that the relaxed Santa Barbara audience swayed to. Crystal Antlers provided a more upbeat, electric set that had many in the crowd dancing and moving around, which boosted the liveliness on the floor before Gardens & Villa took the stage.
Gardens & Villa met and were formed in Santa Barbara, so naturally they had many friends and family members in attendance which provided for an intimate and enjoyable show. The band expressed their love for hometown gigs, and announced that they would be playing a few new tracks for their loved ones and fans. They began their set with one of the new songs titled “Bullet Train”, and followed with “Thorn Castles” and the funky “Cruise Ship” off of their self-titled album. Those who are unfamiliar with the band might be surprised to know that this alternative/indie group makes use of wooden flutes in many of their songs; they even sell official Gardens & Villa branded flutes for $5 at their shows, which come with a bonus song download! The singer Chris Lynch can be seen using one of his many flutes at the show in the attached video of “Neon Dove”, listed in the full setlist below.
The band played 5 more new tracks along with album favorites “Spacetime”, “Black Hills”, and “Orange Blossom” during their encore. The atmosphere created by the painted walls of the cultural center, the dark lighting, the enthusiastic audience, and the great music provided for an unforgettable show. If you’re going to be at Coachella weekend one or two, be sure to add this band to your festival must-see list!
- Bullet Train
- Thorn Castles
- Cruise Ship
- Dee lite
- Black Hills
- Neon Dove
- Psyche Flute
- Encore:Carrizo Plains
- Orange Blossom
For the full set of photos from the night, click HERE
All words and photos by Melina Powell.
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