Two Sheds are better than none

Much-loved couple play farewell gig this Saturday

Two Sheds, on the move (left to right: Caitlin Gutenberger, Rusty Miller, Chris Larsen, Kris Anaya, Johnny Gutenberger).

Two Sheds, on the move (left to right: Caitlin Gutenberger, Rusty Miller, Chris Larsen, Kris Anaya, Johnny Gutenberger).

Photo by Nicholas Wray

Jerry Perry presents Two Sheds’ Sacto farewell show with Birds & Batteries and Dana Gumbiner this Saturday, May 19, at Luigi’s Fun Garden, 1050 20th Street; 8 p.m.; $7. CDs and special posters screened by Asbestos Press available for purchase.

Johnny Gutenberger orders a carne asada taco and a chicken enchilada smothered in chile verde. Caitlin Gutenberger gets whole beans and rice. She says she eats gluten-free, but also concedes to being really into tacos. Ditto her husband. In fact, you ask them, “So your band Two Sheds has been together since 2003, and now you’re leaving Sacramento for Los Angeles, so what’s the story?” and Caitlin replies:

“Well, tacos are involved.”

But seriously.

“I am serious,” she insists.

Indeed, you can’t spell Sacto without tacos.

Two Sheds’ guitarist Chris Larsen and his fiancée Melanie Glover and the couple squeeze into a booth at Tres Hermanas. They’ve got one of the good booths right in the middle of the Midtown hotspot, where the staff never forgets to refill your chips and salsa.

Like the restaurant, Two Sheds is a central city music-scene mainstay. The band formed sort of by accident: Caitlin had never played tunes at all until one night, after a couple drinks, when she jumped into the Beatles’ “Blackbird” on guitar. Her father knew how to play, but this revelation took Johnny aback—“You know how to play guitar? Awesome!”—and the couple soon was penning songs and jamming with friend Rusty Miller.

The music—deep, chill guitar rock with a down-tempo vibe—featured Caitlin at the forefront on vocals, backed by Johnny and Miller and a rotating cast of five guitarists, two drummers and two female singers over the years. The current incarnation—Larsen, Miller, the couple—will do its last hometown gig for the foreseeable future this Saturday in Midtown.

Johnny was reluctant to label the Luigi’s Fun Garden gig a farewell show. “But fuck it; it’s probably going to be our last show in a while. We want our friends to come out,” he said.

That’s an invitation. Because, soon after, the couple will be moving off to Los Angeles.

“One point I want to make is that we’re not moving to L.A. because we think Sacramento sucks. At all,” insisted Caitlin.

Everyone assumed otherwise, however, when a band crosses the Grapevine south.

“We’re just trying something different on for size,” she explained. “We’re moving there to be uncomfortable.”

Of course, Two Sheds will leave many friends behind.

“My favorite Two Sheds moment was when I first heard them at [Old Ironsides],” explained fellow musician and friend Terra Lopez of Sister Crayon. “It must have been at least five years ago. I was absolutely enthralled by Caitlin’s voice and their overall musicianship. They all seemed to be having so much fun together creating this beautiful, emotional music. I’ve been a huge fan ever since and, in a way, I’ve always looked up to Caitlin and her songwriting ability. I remember obsessing over their first record—playing it over and over in my bedroom.”

Soon after Caitlin’s surprise Beatles cover-tune moment, she and Johnny played their first gig at Old Ironsides—one of Perry’s “Crooning Couples” Valentine’s Day shows. Later, Strange Ammunition, the band’s 2006 debut, was laid down by Robert “Flossy” Cheek at The Hangar. They also put out an EP in 2008, toured the country, even wowed South by Southwest.

Kris Anaya, who’s also done albums with Flossy and will play and sing with Two Sheds at this weekend’s farewell gig, recalled an embarrassing moment that highlights Caitlin and Johnny’s easygoing way: “Two Sheds performed at Old Ironsides many years ago and I was really drunk and decided to run up on stage, smashing all their pedals and twisting all their amp knobs,” Anaya recalled. “I have no idea why. However, Johnny and Caitlin just went with my bipolar emotion and welcomed me with open arms on stage.”

Johnny embraces Two Sheds’ laid-back ethos. He’s been in a lot of bands, including popular ’90s rockers Far, and has seen what he says is a lot of “drama” in the local scene.

But Two Sheds is his favorite. He and his wife bonded over Pavement when they first met, and there’s a carefree air to the group’s folk-inspired noodling and rich ballads.

The band slays with nonchalance. Or, as Johnny puts it, “chill or be chilled.”

Now, back to those tacos.