Mutual Benefit Slows Things Down at Love Garden

mutual-benefit-6Love Garden Sounds is the definitive Lawrence, KS establishment. It is a proprietor of the weird, curator of the interesting and supplier of the best records you can find in Kansas. So where else would you expect to find a stripped-down, sit-on-the-floor style Mutual Benefit show?

Mutual Benefit is known for creating some of the most extraordinarily mellow songs about love.Their angelic sound and delicate lyricism and singing is the kind of music you pair with rainy days, peaceful sitting by the water, or reading.

In the back of Love Garden, three amplifiers and a kit of conga drums sat waiting, as did about twenty Lawrence locals. Together we sat on the floor, and watched silently as singer/songwriter Jordan Lee and his band mates performed a stripped-down set full of sad songs and beautiful melodies.

Their tranquil songs feature just as much instrumentation as Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens, but the magnitude is toned down just a pitch. Instead, singer Jordan Lee creates mini-symphonies and tiny picturesque landscapes in his music.

“Advanced Falconry” features a banjo, a symphony and sleigh bells, as well as Lee’s piercing and heart-shattering lyrics. When the band plays the song live, as they did on Monday night, it barely creeps out, as if in a faint whisper. The music sounds as delicate and peaceful as a single snowflake against the night.

At one point, Lee said “We’re from New York, and it’s amazing when we come to towns and see that people care about us,” and he thanked the in-awe crowd after every song. There was so much mutual respect between the band and audience, that it seemed we were as lucky to be hearing these songs as they felt to be performing them for us.

For everyone in the store that night that got to sit on the floor, it was an experience none of us will forget anytime soon.