Show Review: Circa Survive/Touché Amoré/Balance and Composure/O'Brother (10/10/12 @ LA Nokia Live)
This past week I finally made it out to my first real show in Los Angeles and I couldn't have picked a better show to go to. I headed downtown LA with fellow AP.net staff Jack Appleby to attend the Circa Survive Violent Waves tour at the Nokia Live. First off, I just got to say that I really liked that little area of downtown LA, I will be visiting there often. Jack and I arrived a little late and only got to catch the final half of O'Brother's set, but from what I could tell from the crowd reaction and what was happening on stage, the band absolutely killed it, unleashing one last powerful breakdown before giving way to Balance and Composure. Jack told me that he thinks B&C are the next breakout band in our scene, and I find it hard to disagree with him based on what I saw that night. The quintet ripped through a seven song set (six from the band's last album Separation and closed with "Rope" from the Tigers Jaw split) that left everyone blistered. Standout's included "Quake" and "Progress, Progress." Let's just say anticipation will be high for the band's next album.
The third band on the bill were the hometown heroes Touché Amoré. Working as direct support for Circa Survive, the hardcore quintet played a twenty song set that featured a good mix of songs from ...To The Beat Of A Dead Horse and Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me, as well as "Whale Belly" (from the band's new 7" with The Casket Lottery) and a new song titled "Gravity," which stole the show for me. This song may be the most passionate and intense song I've heard from TA yet (it certainly appears to be the longest song they've ever written as well). Jeremy Bolm made the stage his own, as his presence was electric (he reminded me of a young Jake Bannon). Fist pumping and interacting with the crowd throughout, the band was on point with crowd pleasers "~" and "History Reshits Itself" (which featured an Anthony Green cameo). Touché ended the set with the colossal one-two punch of "Amends" and "Condolences," with the latter ending with Bolm in the pit being bear hugged by fans and the former somberly ending the set as Bolm shouted out his final words over the haunting piano chords courtesy of drummer Elliot Babin. Honestly, this set made me feel alive and it stole the show for me. Let it be known that Touché Amoré is one of the best live band you'll ever see.
Finally, it was Circa Survive's turn. The LA crowd was firmly in the band's palm thoughout the near two hour set. This was their temple and Anthony Green was the leader. Between the continuous chanting of "CIRCA! CIRCA!" and confetti-spewing cannons, the band played a balanced set consisting of new songs and fan favorites from the Circa discography. Once they opened with the riveting "Sharp Practice" and quickly transitioned into "In The Morning and Amazing...," you knew this was going to be a special set. This was the first time I've seen Circa live since Juturna released in 2005 and boy have they improved as a live act. Highlights included "Stop The Fuckin' Car," "The Lottery," "Frozen Creek," and the Jeremy Bolm-aided "Glass Arrow." Green got a little surprise during "Suitcase," as the puppy furries from the video showed up on stage and gave the crowd a very lively interpretative dance routine. Circa Survive closed with a two-song encore consisted of "Act Appalled" and "Get Out." Honestly, I've never seen a crowd this into a show and dedicated to a band in the seven years I've been covering the scene. It was something else - I was thoroughly impressed, which is just another indication of the impact Circa Survive has had on the scene during its 8 years as a band.
Overall, this was one of the best shows I've been to in a while featuring one of the best bills in recent memory. All four bands have can't-miss sets. Don't be a fool and miss out on what could be the best show you see all 2012.