Gardens & Villa @ the Doug Fir

Its been about 5 years since I last saw this band, barely filling up a weekday bill at the WOW Hall in Eugene. Back then they were touring to promote their little known self-titled album, which turned out some tastefully strange tracks, Thorn Castles, Orange Blossoms and Star Fire Power, both of which were played at the show to the wooing fan’s delight. Their show at the Doug Fir was every bit as sensual and acrobatic while respecting the synthy roots they have laid down throughout their three album career.

Through all the sweating and writhing, started by lead singer Chris Lynch and reciprocated adoringly by the crowd, you couldn’t help but stand and stare in amazement at Lynch’s flute mastery. Not only the fluter mastery but how can the guy slide and jump around stage and then cooly play flute riffs in between handling lead singing duties and and switching between an arsenal of instruments. At the very least his constant carousel of instruments is great for the musically attention deficient and at the most its a variety show for the gear heads who can’t help but have their ears pointed at the speakers and their eyes on the pedals littering the floor.

What has been amazing to see is that while their musical identity as been become more focused and blunt, a departure from their more relaxing and romantic origins, they still bring an attitude on stage that can’t be mistaken for anything other than the same one they brought to the WOW Hall five years ago. A show of pure attractive strangeness. I want a flute wielding band of Santa Barbarans to serenade me with songs. I wouldn’t even mind if they finished with Waterloo Sunset, which they did. Everyone was smiling for a week. Come back to Portland anytime gentlemen.


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