Though the room had not filled by the time ‘Halos’ took to the stage, their unique stage presence, soaring guitar-driven melodies and thought-provoking lyrics still reached every corner of the room, filling it with an incredible atmosphere.
When listening to, and watching ‘Halos’ live, the first thing you notice is that this Californian quintet have clearly been listening to a lot of Brand New. Melodic openings to songs reach crescendos of massive noise with pounding drum beats, before everything drops to allow vocalist Dan Lyman to flex his vocal muscles. The whole act seethes with substance over style, and, as the crowd grow to realise that the band mean every word they have been singing, they start to catch on; after each song the round of applause grows in numbers (stronger, more knowing).
Though the band does feel like another Brand New or Manchester Orchestra, this does not stop me from loving the sound. The catalogue of songs shows a massive amount of promise, and I suggest you tell your friends about this band before they tell you.
Circa Survive, however, are the main act of the night, and they proved it with their incredible and intense performance. Opening with ‘Strange Terrain’ was an obvious choice as it is the opening track from Circa’s latest offering, ‘Blue Sky Noise’, but it set the tempo and mood for the next 50 minutes absolutely perfectly. The tight musicianship is immediately noticeable, and each member of the band brings something individual and excellent to the mix. As the band power through their set of songs both old and new, impressive guitar effects control the tone of the sound, heavy distorted bass riffs drive the songs forward and sporadic but neat drum beats keep the songs moving into places that never fail to surprise.
When the band play songs from their new album, the crowd sing along to every word which clearly pleases the band and they feed off the voices coming back to them on stage. Though the room is still only half full, everyone remains captivated by the performers and those at the front of the room, clawing to grab at anyone on the stage, seem to forget that the rest of the room (or anything else for that matter) exists at all.
Anthony Green is the man who steals the show, and could be an advertisement for the perfect front man. Diving into the crowd as soon as the music kicks in, and spending pretty much the whole show there, he shows the close relationship and respect he has for the fans. ‘Green’ feeds off not only the audience but the music as well, flailing around the stage, swaying to every beat and embracing every melody. Like a man possessed with his eyes rolling into the back of his head, he thanks the crowd “for making an atmosphere in this room, so I can get completely lost in this music.”
Circa Survive is a band playing music for themselves, and they just so happen to be lucky enough to have people that like to listen to the songs they make. Tonight those people are there, but Circa would probably have played with as much energy as they did even if there was no one in the room. The sounds they make are creative, interesting and unique, but never do they come across as pretentious or as if they are trying to impress anybody; by doing that tonight, they impress everybody.