The Garden creates a party out of Masquerades’ Heaven


Zioni Moore

Teenage aggression, adult angst and everything in between collided October 10 with the appearance of The Garden at Atlanta’s famed Masquerade. The ecstatic audience fueled openers Kumo 99 and Flipper as mosh pits sparked left and right throughout the venue. No matter the ways animated crowds behaved during those initial setlists, the circus truly erupted once twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears graced the stage. Shoes flew, mosh pits left bruises and attendees lived life to the fullest.

Zioni Moore, Co-Copy Editor

The scene aligns with that of early 2000s teen movies: spiked hair, clown face paint, wallet chains, piercings and plenty of heads with unnatural colors. Seemingly unified in alternative appearance, age ranges, ethnicities and genders displayed varied dramatically. One objective still held the coalition together: punk rock.

Coming together in early 2011, Orange County natives, The Garden, started off as a two-man band manned by identical twins Fletcher and Wyatt Shears. Together, they released short yet engaging albums indicating their flare for major juxtaposition within the musical composition. Eccentric sounds and personalities skyrocket a band’s career within the alternative scene, as the case for the brothers. Their 2018 album, “Mirror Might Steal Your Charm”, brought them to the stage, but 2020’s “Kiss My Super Bowl Ring” and 2022’s “HORSESH— ON ROUTE 66” shoved the men into the forefront of punk rock culture. 

After the release of the later album September 8, The Garden began their North America tour. The genius of their manager should not remain unhighlighted, for the venue within Atlanta exudes the same energy the band and audience do: avant-garde and rebellion.

As a result, lines trailed out to the streets above the Underground; teens and adults were ecstatic to see the complete lineup. As the doors opened at seven, a plethora of retail options relating to the bands displayed themselves along the majority of the empty spaces. From t-shirts to stickers and even old-school record players, the bands left no niche form of remembrance lost on their fans. 

The environment bred excitement for all bands, including the first opening act, Kumo 99. Similar to the prolific band Nine Inch Nails, they incorporated synths, bass, screaming and electric guitar. Based in Los Angeles, frontwoman Ami Komai and techno expert Nate Donmoyer tailored to the high-energy crowd. Hard hitters such as “Varroon” and “Dow Bones”, created an overall excitable audience, bursting at the seams by the end of their performance. Considering the West coast tour with notable Machine Girl, their success led to a serendipitous moment all around. 

While Kumo 99 undeniably set the bar incredibly high, cult classic band Flipper invoked the classic punk rock feel back into the airways. During the peak of their active time frame, the group formed in 1979 alongside other mainstream artists such as Scratch Acid, Cows and Hüsker Dü without reaching the same level of success. Nevertheless, they created success in their own right, a sentiment expressed in their stage presence. Rowdy, hilariously crude and major fans of crowd surfing, the older men kept the energy up. As they wrapped up with songs “Ha Ha Ha” and “Brainwash,” they began to feel emotional, to which the audience, in a heartfelt moment, all raised their hands and showed their appreciation by cheering and forming hearts with their hands.

“I’m sorry, we’re just not used to this type of treatment. You guys are just so amazing. This new generation is so [explicative] joyous, so [explicative] happy to be here. The energy in this room is crazy! You guys are so motivational, you’re not dull and jaded. So full of life,” flipper frontman David Yow said. 

The intense energy skyrocketed even further as the clock ticked closer to the estimated debut of the Shears brothers. Notorious for their insane tricks, inflatables and antics on stage as they performed, the barricades became swarmed with overjoyed patrons. As The Garden played “Hit Eject”, the ground became a war zone, and whoever could mosh the hardest without falling over completely won the battle. The vitality of the crowd shot through the roof–almost literally, at that. The building began to shake as onlookers on the second floor started to jump, mosh and dance in their respective areas. Fletcher and Wyatt continued to feed their fire through singing cartwheels, tossing brooms and flipping continuously; all involved left no room for a dull moment.  

“I was originally disappointed with how Machine Girl didn’t come south, but the openers were actually really cool. I’m not the type of person to be really all that into getting involved with dancing and pits and whatnot, but it was so fun to join in! It wasn’t like you had much of a choice though; everyone was packed like sardines…sweaty, gross, and cool makeup was most definitely falling off, but it was overall super freaking cool,” senior Abbie Omnisore said.