As the legions of people out there who worship the ground that Anthony Green walks on will tell tell you, Circa Survive puts on an incredible live show. An experimental rock band based out of Philadelphia, they compose music that defies simple classification. They have the energy and rhythm of post-hardcore bands like At The Drive-In, the densely-layered guitar tones of an indie-rock band like Minus The Bear, and the abstract lyrical approach that I can only compare to Aaron Weiss of contemporary punk rockers mewithoutYou. The music is equal parts grounded, epic, and relatable. Though their recordings are amazing in their own right, Circa Survive's reputation is built on their intense, personal live shows. I was lucky enough to attend one of those recently, 11/28/2010 at Irving Plaza in New York City.
After three opening bands (Animals As Leaders, Codeseven, and dredg), Circa took the stage. They had some cool LED lights backing the guitars, though in my opinion, they seriously overused the strobe lights. I'd have to say that that was the only negative aspect of an otherwise incredible performance. They began their set with a massive explosion of confetti and two tracks from their new album, Blue Sky Noise: 'Strange Terrain' and 'Get Out'. They brought the heat with these two songs; the intensity with which the crowd responded to them was remarkable. Circa Survive draws the kind of crowd that will rush the stage but not mosh, which is, in my opinion, the best kind of crowd a hardcore band would draw. In a crowd like that, you can let go of your body and allow yourself to be taken by the movement of the people around you. It's a very liberating feeling. I was in this exact situation for one of the highlights of the concert, their performance of 'In The Morning And Amazing...', my personal favorite Circa Survive song. The intensity of Anthony Green's vocals on this number was incredibly moving - it was impossible to not be affected in some way by the performance. They continued to play a set filled with fan-favorite tracks - 'Holding Someone's Hair Back' and 'Frozen Creek' come to mind.
After a mind-blowing powerful show, Circa Survive, left the stage. The crowd, however, knew it was not over, and amidst chants of the band's name, the four instrumentalists took the stage again and played the instrumental track 'Compendium', the second to last song on Blue Sky Noise. Then, as Green ran onstage, the band transitioned into the final track on the album, 'Dyed In The Wool'. After that song, Green addressed the crowd. He has the knack of having some awesome words for the crowd during concerts. He shared a message of inspiration and self-reliance, telling his fans that they "decide their own destiny." I wish I could remember more, but it doesn't really matter. Anyone who was there won't ever forget that show. They closed with their song 'I Felt Free', whose lyrics really do speak to the theme that Circa Survive preaches: "I felt free to do what I want / Because of the things you told me". That night, everyone there was truly free. Thank you, Circa Survive, for an unforgettable evening.