Taste of Much-Needed Nightlife
By Andy Cheng
The campus is nearly empty by nightfall compared to the bustling activity of the day, yet on certain Wednesday nights, The Barn, a fast food joint by day and music venue by night, illuminates the otherwise desolate night scene of UCR with the thundering sound of music, bright lights and youthful crowds cheering on a band or artist. I was assigned the daunting task of covering a concert on Wednesday, May 16 by two bands I knew little about (daunting because I had a bunch of schoolwork to do): Gardens and Villa and Milo Greene. Not knowing what was in store, and mostly expecting a dull, sit-down performance (how good could a concert be at this subpar location?), I walked into the small venue and was pleasantly surprised at how many attendees were already waiting for the concert. People gathered by the stage, buying food and refreshments, sitting at the tables inside and outside. I suddenly realized: wow, I’m the only one who went alone. Also, these bands weren’t just some grade C no-names.
Low green and purple lights shined upon the mellow folk rock band Milo Greene as it started off the night at 9 p.m. with “Cutty Love” to the cheers of the packed standing audience. Surprisingly, without having to mention the song name, people of the audience seem to recognize it, reinsuring that the musical guests invited by The Barn Series aren’t just your everyday prospective-less local bands. Indeed, Gardens and Villa attracted quite a crowd of indie lovers. “Cutty Love” was followed by “Silent Way,” a much slower number compared to the rest of the band’s set list. Halfway through the concert, they performed a cover song of “Chicago,” a popular song by some artist unknown to me. Yet, when Milo Greene vocalist Robbie Arnett asked the audience, “You guys like Sufjan Stevens?” they responded with loud cheers of appreciation. At 9:45 p.m., the band closed out with its final song “1957,” and a short intermission commenced until the main course. UCR was the first stop of Milo Greene’s tour as the band continues aroundCalifornia,DenverandArizona.
At 10 p.m., Gardens and Villa took to the stage as people reshuffled towards the band with a flutesy composition of indie pop called “Thorn Castles,” a slow, percussive song with electronic tunes. This was followed by “Cruise Ship,” a song a bit too excessive on the bass to the point that it caused tremors in the small venue (to no fault of the band, but of the sound manager at The Barn). It didn’t seem to affect the voracious fans, however, as they slowly danced to the steady synth-heavy songs (which were more like lullabies to me, but gold to their fans below). Now that I think about it, all of their songs were slow and synthesizer heavy, which somehow did not lull the audience to sleep, but invigorated them). At around 10:45 p.m., the band completed its set after “Orange Blossom” and walked off stage in a haste, only to return 30 seconds later for an encore. The group performed the renowned, iconic New Wave song “Cars” by Gary Numan, adding more of its own unique elements to the song.
The bands didn’t exactly convert me to the indie-driven style of music, but I can’t deny that they attracted an audience larger than expected and gained quite a positive reception. Following the show, both bands joined their tour manager at the merchandise booth to take pictures with fans. As the night drew to a close, I left the venue with a newfound respect for UCR’s modest nightlife that, in my four years at the university, I had never discovered. So in that sense, the concert was pretty damn awesome.
If you happened to miss the concert, here’s the set list for both bands (in this order):
Gardens and Villa
Man in Blood
Take A Step
Don’t You Give Up On Me
Son My Son