Pacific Garden rocks The House with sweeping sound

By Peter Zemeske

Indie rock band Pacific Garden brought their unique vision of music Friday night to The House, 263 E. Lincoln Highway. The band followed two other acts, alternative rock band From the Start and shoegaze band Solemn Meant Walks.

Based out of Aurora, Pacific Garden began as frontman Nick Chiodras’ solo project. The project started out of Chiodras’ bedroom in Wheaton in 2015 and expanded to include drummer Jahari Thompson and bassist Mike Granata in 2017 to flesh out Chiodras’ psychedelic tones when playing live.

Their most recent album, “Understanding,” was released Sept. 18, 2018. When asked about their inspirations, Chiodras cited bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala as a few of their biggest. Chiodras said Tame Impala inspired him to start writing and recording his own music.

“After hearing [Tame Impala], I knew I had to make my own music,” Chiodras said. “We are not Tame Impala, but they are a big influence for us.”

The evening started with From the Start’s roaring alternative rock, filling The House’s cozy interior. The band’s sound was reminiscent of bands like Jane’s Addiction and Bass Drum of Death. Following them was Solemn Meant Walks, a shoegaze band whose dark dream-pop had the reverb-laden sounds of The Cure and the drone of Spacemen 3.

Pacific Garden opened their set with “Barley Fields,” a slow sweeping, dreamy surf rock cut off their debut album. The three-piece’s sound covered a wide range of tones in its 10-song setlist with soft chorus-like guitar lines similar to Mac DeMarco’s and fuzzed-out riffs inspired by Black Lips.

Pacific Garden proved it came to rock after performing of “Sword,” a swirling instrumental with a driving pace. The song “Sun” hypnotized the crowd with a wall of sound and reached all corners of The House. The band closed their set with an interpretation of Pat Ballard’s 1954 classic single “Mr. Sandman,” which was a sparse and serene rendition. When asked about future shows, the members of Pacific Garden said they are planning another show in Batavia sometime in April. Pacific Garden’s music can be found on Spotify and Bandcamp.