Posted October 16, 2013 by Ryan Ricketts in Show Reviews

Jacco Gardner, Ozarks // 10-7-13 // Mississippi Studios


There are shows, and there are shows that remind you why you go to shows.

This was one of those shows.

Ozarks are quickly becoming one of Portland’s freshest and quirkiest country-psychedelic-pop acts, but it was Jacco Gardner, as most headliners should, that stole the show.

The Ozarks, fronted by singer/songwriter Robbie Augspurger, delighted the languid crowd with melodic psychedelic tunes reminiscent of a mixture of acid-tinged Beatles and focused and driving Grandaddy circa The Sophtware Slump. Scenes from the classic film, Cars (1977), were projected behind the group and added to the nostalgic 70s hallucinogenic vibe.

Augsupurger’s delicate falsetto floated softly above the laid-back grooves and intertwining acrobatic guitar lines. Wilco would have been proud of the intricacies of the dual lead guitar lines as they played masterfully off of each other and provided complex and rewarding contrasts through interweaving counterpoints.

Highlights of the set (aside from the comedic relief by way of stage banter) included new tunes not featured on their debut album Ozarks, especially “Like I Love You” with a strong dose of those counterpoint harmonies generated by the dual lead guitar riffs. If this tune is any sign of things to come, their new album will certainly be an exciting affair.

The four-piece Dutch band named for their lead singer/songwriter Jacco Gardner, transplanted the lethargic audience by way of a Back To the Future time machine to the dreamy era of 60s England. Coming out and steam rolling expertly through their instrumental flagship tune “Cabinet of Curiosities” (off the album of the same name) complete with psychedelic baby ramblings and Bach-style harpsichord, hinted with an exclamation point that this was going to be a baroque chamber pop event.

Gardner is only 24 years old and already seems to have mastered song craft and is a true multi-instrumentalist as he deftly moved from a variety of keyboards all the while singing with a beautifully soft tone.

“The End of August” arrived mid-set and was announced as being their new single. The song is touchingly haunting and honest in its depiction of the leaving of Summer and arrival of Fall:

“Cold wind blows the autumn leaves / Blowing winter in my sleeves/ Nights are colder than before / Shadows wait for me once more.”

Gardner is a master of chamber pop and with his career in its infancy, it will be a pleasure to follow him as he could continue to blossom into the Syd Barrett of this generation.

Ryan Ricketts



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