By Andrea Moor
Anyone who knows me knows my fondness for the twin-composed band based in Orange County, California, known as The Garden. With several side projects under their belt, Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are most notably known for their collaboration on this band. When the musical duo set out to tour again this year for their latest release, Horseshit on Route 66, I knew I had to get in on it. Joined by programming co-director Saidif, their partner Ally, and younger brother Tristan, the show took place on 11/11 (an all-too-coincidental date) at Emo’s in Austin.
As I did earlier this year when I saw them for their roughly 2-year-postponed Kiss My Super Bowl Ring tour, I came adorned in clown makeup and Vada Vada merch. Once arriving, we were left to wait roughly 30 minutes in nearly 40° weather. Despite being in a skirt, I knew my attire choice would serve me justice by the end of the night. Before entering the venue, my mother’s hand-held camera had to be confiscated (they were worried people would throw cameras at the performers, hoping to catch footage of said performers).
With Machine Girl as the opener, the overly-abundant crowd began to warm up to what was to come. Mostly playing from their latest release, it was serotonin-inducing when they played some of their more notable tracks, such as “ATHOTH A GO GO!!” However, it was nothing compared to hearing them sing a cover of one of my go-to karaoke songs, Tears For Fears’s “Head Over Heels.” The fusion of an 80s classic with a Machine Girl’s spin was an all-too-good experience. As I mentioned to Saidif, it truly felt like they were fulfilling a personal request.
Roughly an hour into the show, a longtime friend of the brothers and accompanying musician, Tommy Midnight, assisted with setup. The blowing up of the beloved inflatable jester added fuel to the crowd’s energy. Naturally, the crowd went ballistic when the coveted brothers came out. While performing newer tracks such as “Freight Yard”, they made a point to include classics such as “Banana Peel” and “Call the Dogs Out.” Having already begun moshing earlier, at some point, a lovely individual spewed a couple of fake blood packets onto dozens of attendees. Several people in the crowd had relatively realistic-looking blood splattered onto their faces and the adornments of their outfits and bodies. As I’m typing this, I’m still finding small clumps of the hardened fake blood in my hair, days after the show.
Even with this, I moshed for the majority of the night, making sure to record shaky videos of the band as I could feel my makeup melt into my face. For the girl that complimented me on a good amount of my makeup staying intact, I use Urban Decay setting sprays (an expensive but worthy payoff for all the craft put into one’s makeup!)
A handful of minutes after announcing they were done for the night, the brothers came back out to perform two more tracks. Once noticing their second mini-debut of the night, I quickly refilled my needed ice-cold cup of water and returned to the crowd. With Fletcher stepping away from the drums, they began to prance around the stage. Indulging in instances of parkour, the twins certainly have a stage presence you have to witness for yourself. Taking up space on stage and jumping from the high corners of sound equipment and the stage’s layouts, it’s enticing to see how they navigate themselves.
As the night came to an end, the tips of my hair were drenched in sweat. Being one of the shows I’ve definitely moshed the hardest to, the cold comforted the warmth emitting from my body as we stepped out from the show. After retrieving my camera, I made sure to at least capture a quick shot of the venue as the crowd flooded out.
When prompted about how I felt about this concert compared to the one from earlier this year, I felt that both shows were equally enjoyable. Both shows featured important aspects, a key one being that I saw them for the first time earlier this year after having listened to them for years. Still, if I had to pick one, I’d lean a little more toward this recent one. Influencing this decision is watching Machine Girl, as well as the bigger venue feeding into slightly more rampant energy from the crowd.
Overall, I had a fantastic time. With Machine Girl’s set, the slightly slippery floors that added to the ambiance, and The Garden ensuring another stellar performance, I have no complaints. To my beautiful readers: go see them. Or at the very least, see any musician that would leave you content with still finding remains of fake blood in your hair, nearly a week later after their show.
Written by: Jordan Young