Hosannas and Gardens & Villa at Soho in Santa Barbara

Jul 15th, 2011 in Music

Gardens & Villa returned from the road to the welcoming arms of its loyal fans as headliners at Soho on Wednesday night, and delighted the sold-out audience with an energetic tribal-synth-pop extravaganza that was capped off by their rousing finale encore of Gary Numan’s 1979 uber-hit, Cars. The band will continue on tour in support of their new eponymous debut album on Secretly Canandian, which was produced by one of our favorite producers, Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Mynabirds).

But for us the evening primarily revolved around Portland’s Hosannas and their musical magical realism tour.  We have been huge fans of this band since we first saw them at Muddy Waters and haven’t missed any of their Santa Barbara shows since.  They made our Best of 2010 lists in albums, songs and concerts, and we have written much about them on these pages.  The last two times they played here the band had been stripped down to the Brothers Laws in duo format, and while their songs and talent won out each time, we definitely missed the full band stylee of their first show here.  So we were greatly anticipating their opening slot at Soho on Wednesday, and the band did not disappoint.

The Soho floor was barely occupied when Hosannas began their set, but it wasn’t long before it was packed with a crowd intrigued to know who or what was making such stirring sounds.  With their off-center but stunning melodies, unique four-part harmony vocals, Brandon’s slashing guitar, Richard’s Zombies-updated keyboards, and the more majestic sound supplied by the additional members (Richard told us they had only played together for a scant six days!), Hosannas enthralled their fans and deservingly won many new converts this evening.  They opened with a great re-working of one of last year’s Best Songs of 2010, When We Were Young, and moved through other great songs such as People I Know and Onward With Bravery. Our only complaint was the brevity of the set, but acknowledge the opening-band limits.  Look for this band to make big musical waves in the years to come.

Hosannas will end this mini-tour with a show in Portland this Sunday and then head back into the studio with John Askew.  We can’t wait to hear the results.

In the meantime, the band was recently captured at Violitionist performing three songs, including Onward With Bravery, which you can check out below.



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