Photo by DYLAN LONG
Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are The Garden, and they like their Chipotle. This of course I learned from walking around Temple University’s campus on Saturday with my friend Natalie, and running into them just a few hours before their headlining gig in North Philly. We asked to hang out with them, and they said sure. Fletcher was very kind, and made small talk with us whilst we were lowkey stoned as hell and utterly perplexed by the situation unfolding before us. We decided to play it cool by abruptly leaving the restaurant mid-conversation, unable to properly analyze whether we were being casual fans hanging with the band, or a pair of complete weirdos uncomfortably following them around as they tried to just get their Chipotle fix in peace.
Fast-forward to the gig. “You here for The Garden?” Why yes. Natalie and I are led into a slightly cramped alley by my friend Sydney, who seems to know the guys throwing the show as she motions us through a gated door. A sizeable amount of kids are lined up in the alley, and up towards the entrance of the house (which was a last-minute venue switch from the now apparently defunct Goldilocks Gallery.) Once inside, we scoot up to the front of the venue, where the first band of the evening High Pop is setting up amongst various beautiful green ferns resting in bright orange Wawa milk crates, and more luscious greenery hanging from the ceiling.
High Pop and Heyrocco were solid openers. Nothing out of the ordinary, just some cool dudes in rocks bands. Their casual sounds built up a strong suspense for the incredibly strange and revved up performances yet to come. So Pitted took the stage next, a band who I have been extremely into as of late. The lead singer Nathan walked up to the mic wearing Neo-esque sunglasses, and the drummer Liam had a microphone/antenna device strapped to his forehead that helped him resemble a robot-anglerfish crossbreed. The guitarist, Janine (who I have a crush on) plugged her electric guitar into a bass amp and began strumming heavy, muffled chords, filling the room with a sense of looming terror. The room was a projector of sparkly blue lights and pink strobe away from complete darkness, complementing their creepy, noise-filled grunge. Hurdling through a set that unfortunately lasted no more than 20 minutes, the Washington-based trio managed to play out “feed me”, “woe” and “cat scratch”, in addition to some unreleased material. Although the set flew by, these guys are creepy as hell, and damn good at what they do.
The Garden jumped down from the single flight of stairs that were inside of the large atrium and began their hour of mischief. The duo, twins Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, are one kooky ass duo. Their quirky yet sick sound is manufactured simply by drums, bass and a slew of effects. As they began spewing lyrics to songs like “Call This Number Now” and “HAHA”, the over-capacity crowd of rambunctious teens came barreling into the performance space, knocking into Wyatt as myself and my friends were cleanly knocked into the corner of the room. The wild and sweaty affair flew by, with more goodies like “Vexation” and “All Smiles Over Here” being cranked out to the tune of Wyatt’s tone-heavy bass. After talking to the bands and splashing cold water over our overheated faces in the sink of the house, we bid adieu into the cold dark streets of North Philly, with the distinct sense of eeriness that the bands gave off following us all the way home. — DYLAN LONG