Golden Coral Desert: Garden Centre

Tickets £4 - £8, can be booked by the We Got Tickets website.

Acclaimed wonky and wonderful pop-adjacent outfits Garden Centre and The Tubs come to Oxford as part of their joint UK solo tour – The Tubs freshly returned from a series of European shows, and Garden Centre still riding high from the release of their new album earlier in the year. Support comes from musical experimentalist and third-year music undergraduate Yuexuan. This show is presented by Golden Coral Desert, the gig promotion project run by third-year music undergraduate Max Blansjaar.

For years, Garden Centre's Max Levy (King of Cats, Fluid Tower) has been searching for a steady stream. A stream to watch sports on, a stream to glean information from, a stream to wade in. Occasionally, he’ll immerse himself shin-deep in an actual, physical stream: an activity that pulls him in closest to the hum of the universe. Living is a fractured and fractious experience. A stream is a promise of resonance, unifying our innermost being with our outside reality.

Searching For A Stream, Garden Centre’s fourth album, came out in May 2023 via Specialist Subject Records (UK) and Kanine (US). Starry-eyed musings with a tentative sense of optimism, leafy keys among crackling guitars, raw vocals and sweet playground melodies culminate in the urge to look up and notice the world in all its muddled, gently nostalgic wonder: metal hulks lying in the lane / beetles on their backs / wriggling in vain / as real as superstition flying on the wing / as real as anything...

Formed in 2018 by Owen “O” Williams and George “GN” Nicholls of celebrated Welsh pop group Joanna Gruesome with the aim of expanding the dimensions of their ‘‘jubilant” (New York Times) compositions, The Tubs take the fuzzy, hook-laden sounds of their former outfit and fuse them with elements of antipodean pop, traditional British folk, contemporary post-punk, and Robert Wyatt-esque pastoralism into a masterful eighties-inflected jangle: lyrically inspired by the “sick enjoyment” Williams derives, in his own words, from “finding the most embarrassing aspects of myself, my dirty laundry, and airing it in public.”

The band released debut single ‘I Don’t Know How It Works’ on Prefect Records in February 2020 followed by the Names EP in 2021, and since then have played shows with UK colleagues Porridge Radio, Ex-Void and Marcel Wave among others, as well as US outfits Flasher and Public Practice. Their debut album Dead Meat came out via Trouble in Mind Records in January this year, seeing Williams languishing in aching, bitter resignation with a characteristically acerbic tongue while crisp guitars and tambourines dance wistfully around him – a “tunefully crafted” release (Pitchfork) from a band that knows how to deal smartly in both poignant sentiment and nonchalant sarcasm.

Yuexuan is an experimental composer and improviser based in Oxford. She works primarily with voice and collected sounds – previous performances include the EMPRes Art Of Noises showcase at Modern Art Oxford and The Silk Roads with Katie Melua. She is currently a third-year undergraduate music student at Exeter College.

This show is 18+.

The Port Mahon is not accessible by wheelchair.