Circa Survive at Houston House of Blues on 27 October.


Nov 16 2010, 5:02

Wed 27 Oct – Circa Survive, dredg, Animals as Leaders, Codeseven

Having missed two previous chances to see Circa Survive, I made it a bit of a personal mission to make sure I would get to see Circa on 27 October. After all, the third time is the charm, right? Anyway, Circa have a great reputation for being a very energetic band that can really get a crowd going, and they most certainly delivered, but before I talk about them, I'd like begin by talking up dredg a bit. Before this show, I had only heard of dredg, but had never really taken the time to listen to their music. I was so impressed by their performance, that I had to hunt down some of their music after the show. It's always nice being pleasantly surprised by an opening act you're unfamiliar with, and though it isn't all that common, I've had a bit of luck in the past with bands such as The 1900's and Noveller. The musicianship was top notch, ranging from some really interesting slide guitar, to a technically complex but fiercely in-your-face rhythm section, to Gavin Hayes' excellent vocals. A solid opening band, not too stylistically different from Circa at times, but definitely one possessing enough of their own identity to carry their own weight. As an added bonus, you could see Anthony Green and a couple of guys from Circa rocking the fuck out hidden to the side of the stage during dredg's set. It's nice to see the guys can still enjoy themselves after such extensive touring. Moving on...

Circa Survive pretty much killed it. They opened up with the first three tracks (in sequence) from this year's Blue Sky Noise, before tearing through a handful of songs from their first two albums. Anthony Green was all over the place, and the man can undoubtedly rally a crowd like nobody's business. The guitar work was excellent, with Colin and Brendan's guitars interlocking for some pretty intense breakdowns on Get Out, and getting into proggier territory on songs like Oh, Hello where Colin's guitar work goes on its own tangent, but in an awesome way. I'm also pretty sure Nick Beard had a huge grin on his face during the entire show, so again, it's cool seeing a band making their work fun. If I had to make a minour quibble, it would be that the drumming seemed a bit understated in places, but I think this had more to do with the new material than anything. While Steve Clifford remains one of my favourite drummers, I am a bit disappointed that the drumming on Blue Sky Noise lacks a few of the trademarks (such as the syncopation and sick snare rolls) he established on Juturna. About two thirds of the way through their set, the band brought up about a dozen people, six on each half of the stage to provide backing vocals for an acoustic performance of Spirit Of The Stairwell. It wasn't entirely clear to me if they were picked at random, or maybe selected through some contest earlier or perhaps on a facebook or myspace fan page, but it was a really cool way to get the audience involved, and they breezed through the song really well. The band closed out their set with Through The Desert Alone, but returned for a 3 song encore of tracks from Blue Sky Noise. A really great show overall, with probably the most energy I've seen since Thursday played last year at the Meridian. Track list was as follows:

Strange Terrain
Get Out
Glass Arrows
In the Morning and Amazing
Holding Someone's Hair Back
In Fear and Faith
Frozen Creek
Imaginary Enemy
Stop the Fuckin' Car
Spirit Of The Stairwell
Oh, Hello
Through The Desert Alone
Dyed In The Wool
I Felt Free


  • EnteringEden

    Love it! :D We saw Circa Survive foreeeeever ago. I can't remember who they opened for (probably Rise Against and Thursday) but it was at least four years ago. At any rate, for reasons I don't care to mention, I don't really listen to Circa anymore. But I do agree, I love to see musicians having fun when they play live shows. :D

    Nov 16 2010, 14:34
  • HyperMuffin

    Great review! Was I the only one who recognized the At the Drive-In and Yes song excerpts that Circa played? That and the crowd going f-ing crazy during the whole circa set made the concert for me! First Houston show I've seen with a crowd like that. Most concerts I've been to I'm just one of the few guys that go nuts during songs, but this show was totally different!

    Dic 6 2010, 5:22
  • Heebeejeebies

    I heard them play a couple of songs in between tracks that I didn't recognize, so yeah I didn't pick up on them being At the Drive-In or Yes, haha. And yeah, crowds in Houston tend to be super lame, so this show was definitely a pleasant surprise.

    Dic 8 2010, 18:34
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