The Garden @ Orange Peel

The accuracy of this review could be debatable but with a live show as memorable as The Garden‘s, it’s not one you forget. Having wanted to see the twins perform for well over a year now, and it being the best gig that Hong Kong has to offer this tour season, my expectations were high. But man did they smash it (there was never any doubt). The set spanned the new album ‘haha’ and the previous ‘Life and Times of a Paper Clip’.

A small unit, the brothers have managed to expand their sound without diluting their appeal as they execute the first night of their Asian tour, promoting new album ‘haha’ (available to stream on youtube). The halloween/fuzzy monster esque lops offer a more developed and interesting background to the often curious lyrics, raw bass and impressive drums that creates their mostly short song vada vada sound. Setting up their own equipment, what could have been a sound test morphs into the main performance, openly beginning with the direct ‘can do, will do’ attitude that seems to reside in their core (as well described in an interview with ‘the interns’).

In a small crowd made of a mix of locals, expats, students and support band The Yours, they are exposed, there is no light show to speak of, no barrier – the stage itself is rather low. But rather than shy away from the intimacy, it is something (unsurprisingly) that they use to their advantage to create an intense and engaged show. Not engaged in your typical crowd chat way, but rather with physical contact and proximity. They are not just musicians, not just performers, but brilliant ones. Fletcher ditches the drums for ‘Cloak‘ amongst others and conducts multiple roly poly’s on stage or rather off of the stage at times. Wyatt strikes poses and moves around like you wish you could, the eye contact always waiting for you, he hops around the crowd like a frog and almost breaks his guitar. When what some may perceive upon first impression as madness is over post ‘We be Grindin”, Wyatt puts on his little leather backpack, Fletcher boxes his sticks and they exit the stage through the crowd.

Their show/they is/are special. An unashamedly direct, honest, intense vada vada performance that could destroy any doubt in those who may find it slightly weird. Legitimate in what they are doing, their live shows prove that, realness stares in to your eyes. What they are doing is bloody brilliant.

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