Garage-gaze trio Guards performed to a packed-house at Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday night as part of the Local X Local showcase in Williamsburg. The event celebrates local beer, art, food and of course, music. This was Guards’ first time playing in New York since December of last year. Sadly, this would also turn out to be the last time the band would play together (sort of).
At first glance, some might mistake Guards for the long-haired indie-pop group Cults. That’s probably because a few of them are actually former band members of the New York band: Drummer Loren “Ted” Humphrey and lead singer Richie Follin, who is also the older brother of Cults frontwoman Madeline Follin. Richie and Loren parted with the band in 2010 and began playing shows as the newly formed Guards. The visual aspect is about the only thing the two groups have in common. With Guards, Richie has taken his sound in a more rock-driven direction, as opposed to the dream-pop stylings of Cults. The band released their debut album In Guards We Trust earlier this year via Black Bell Records and have been touring heavily over the last few months, playing music festivals like Coachella and Primavera.
Although In Guards We Trust is a high-powered album full of intensity, it hardly reflects the driving energy of Guards’ live shows. Follin’s animated performance sustained the energy in the room and kept the audience’s attention through every moment. He repeatedly held his guitar above his head to shred, and at one point, ran the strings of his guitar wildly across a drum cymbal. After powering through their high-octane hits like “Nightmare,” “Silver Lining” and “Not Supposed To Know,” the band treated the audience to some classic rock and roll with a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black).” One song and a lengthy jam session later, the band prepared to play its final song.
But before finishing their set, Richie made the announcement that guitarist John Fredericks and bass player Andy Briehan were playing their last show with the band. Follin said he wanted to “wait until the end of the show so no one’s heart would get broken.” He then went on to say, “I just want to say thanks to John and Andrew for playing with us. It means a lot. We couldn’t ask for better people to play with. Alright, let’s go out on a high note.” He then walked backstage and came back with a handful of shot glasses, proclaiming, “I’ve got shots for everyone to do.” The band members met in the middle, toasted each other, toasted the crowd, and downed their shots. As the crowd continued to cheer, the band hammered into “Resolution Of One,” the first song off their self-titled EP. At the request of Richie, the crowd gave the band a finale to remember, as they jumped around and danced, before the members finished their set for the last time as a group.