Gardens & Villa
Cara Robbins

As a band’s music progresses through stages, so, too, do the makers enter new physical and emotional spaces. Never is this truer than for S.B.’s own Gardens & Villa. Since signing to Secretly Canadian last year and sharing tours with Foster the People, Generationals, and Craft Spells, they — and their music — have seen strange new places. The proof: a weird, wicked, and worthy live scoring of the classic silent film Faust during this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Fest. Armed with their usual helping of drum machine, flute, electric guitar, bass, vocal effects, and a pretty collection of keyboards, the performance showed a creative intelligence that sets these five dudes in a league apart from their peers. “The whole Faust experience for us as a band was pretty interesting,” bassist Shane McKillop explained via phone, “We’re still trying to figure out what to take away from it.”

But there is little time to dwell for these restless minstrels, as they set out this month for a springtide tour in the company of Fanfarlo and indie veterans The Shins. With the release of their full-length debut album on the horizon, the tour will take their game to new heights at festivals and high-cap venues around the country. “We’ll definitely be hitting some of our biggest sized theaters this year,” McKillop imparted. “Like Coachella and Sasquatch; all these festivals are really gonna have us stepping up to the plate. We’re used to kind of the Muddy Waters venues.”

The sun steadily rises on Gardens & Villa, but before they move on to the big stage, there is still time for smaller ones, including this Friday’s show at Casa de la Raza (601 E. Montecito St.). Once a popular site for rock and hardcore shows, Casa de la Raza is a historic venue that has largely fallen out of the public sphere. Intrigued by the musical history within the walls (Santana, Los Lobos and Jackson Browne have all performed there), McKillop is excited about the prospect of resurrecting a comfortably mid-sized space. “It’s either you play at SOhO for 200, or you play at Granada for 2,000, and there’s nothing in between,” he explained. Though Casa de la Raza may seem spacious by our measure, it’s certainly one of the smallest places you’ll catch the boys on this tour, so come on out this Friday and get intimate. For tickets and info, visit


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