Many think a great crowd is a sold-out crowd; the kind that packs into a venue like sardines. And sure, numbers don’t lie, but if you saw the crowd that attended the Circa Survive show last night at House of Blues, you would understand how their enthusiasm could put a better attended show to shame. When front man Anthony Green took the stage, people lost their minds, and consequently their voices after screaming about being in the same room with someone they revere. Circa Survive fans love this guy. It certainly wasn’t a one-way street either; Green was also very appreciative of everyone who was at the show and stated it many times throughout the set. “It makes me so happy to look and see you guys connecting to our music. It makes me happy,” he said in between songs.
Not to take credit away from the entire band — it put on a good performance with virtually no screw-ups — but this show was more or less the Anthony Green show. Everyone was enthralled by everything he did; from his singing to his stage dancing, all eyes were on Green. And to add on to the theatrics, confetti cannons were shot off three times during their set and giant balloons filled with confetti were released into the crowd toward the show’s end. People went ape-shit when the band played “Suitcase” and Green held the mic out so everyone could sing-a-long. But just about every song was being sung by the crowd at a dominating volume; a tell-tale sign that the fans were die-hard and didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world that night. After the end of “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison,” a security guard was hurt by a crowd-surfer. You would think an unfortunate event like that would crush all chances of an encore happening, but it didn’t, much to the joy of the crowd. Green and company came back, and he and the drummer started free-styling hardcore riffs as a joke before going into a two-song encore featuring “The Great Golden Baby” and “Get Out.”
Opening for the night was O’Brother, a 5-piece band from Atlanta, Georgia. Their heavy progressive style was a good fit for a Circa Survive show and the band maintained a powerful presence with pounding toms in many of the songs. The vocals were nothing to write home about; either they were too soft and were drowned out by the layers of guitar noise, or they were being shouted amongst heavy chords and crash cymbals; either way, good luck trying to decipher the lyrics. As for showmanship, they did pretty well, head-banging (successfully synchronized with all band members, no less) throughout the set. During a couple of songs, the rhythm guitarist played his own little drum kit to further intensify the beat of the thundering toms. At one point, the bassist brought out a cello bow and played his bass guitar with that, and another point occurred where he sprayed a mist of water as the drop came in a song, Triple H-style.
Next up was Balance and Composure, who was also a good choice for a bill in terms of style, but sounded much too like O’Brother to really stick out from the rest of the show. The pace of songs seemed to be the same, its loomy, negative-spaced breaks and interludes sounded similar, and even the vocalists both had the same style of singing to the point where you would have thought the front man from O’Brother had just went backstage, put a wig on, and went back out to perform in the next band. Their songs weren’t as noisy as O’Brother’s, which made for hearing the vocals a lot easier; however, the vocals weren’t that great. The other unfortunate difference between Balance and Composure’s set and O’Brother’s was the lesser amount of showmanship compared to the latter.
Up after them was Touche Amore, the only hardcore band on the bill. You could tell they were ready to kick the night up a notch when their drummer stripped down to a pair of bicycle shorts before they began the first song. The change of music genre shifted the night into a faster gear, and the moshing followed quickly after they took the stage. The drummer was keeping a frantic beat at almost all times, and the front man was lively and loud with his screaming vocals. The funny part was after they were done with a song, and the front man would speak; he sounded like the nicest guy. If you would ever talk to that guy on the bus, you wouldn’t ever think he was a guy who screams his head off on stage for a living. Oftentimes he would hold the mic up to the crowd to scream for him, but it didn’t always work, which would just leave an awkward break in the vocals. And during the set, Green came on stage and started doing backup screaming in a higher octave (harmonic screaming?). One thing that every band mentioned deserves credit for; they are the coolest, friendliest people. It’s not often you see members of a band that just performed simply wandering around the venue afterwards, talking to fans and shaking hands, acting like normal people. To have seen that from every band that performed last night, it was warming to see how close these bands get with their fans.