I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw the bill. There's good lineups, and then there are stacked lineups. Thrice
, Circa Survive
, CHON, and Balance and Composure? That's a stacked lineup right there.
Thrice and Circa Survive especially have a place near and dear to my heart. I've mentioned
it before while pronouncing my love for Anthony Green, but I can honestly remember the first time I heard these bands like it was yesterday, and that's easily 12 to 13 years ago. What's honestly the most mind-blowing thing to me though, is that not only are these two bands still around and playing, but they're putting out new material, and it's still so good. I hate to use a Batman-inspired cliche, but sometimes your favorite band either dies the hero or lives long enough to become the villain. But Thrice and Circa Survive, they keep fulfilling the role of hero, year after year, album after album.
So suffice it to say, I was pretty stoked to be catching both of them this past Friday at Terminal 5 in Hell's Kitchen.
Thrice had already entered their hiatus by the time I was old enough to start regularly going to shows, but I have seen Circa Survive live before, so I knew a bit of what to expect going in. What I didn't expect was for the J Line to decide to take a nap on my way over to the venue, causing me to miss Balance and Composure's opening set. My apologies to them, I still blasted The Things We Think We're Missing
on the train ride home in honor of them.
I did however get to catch a bit of CHON, and was pretty blown away by their technical yet organic flair of math rock. If you've ever been hesitant about math rock because you think it's just dudes noodling around on their instruments, give these guys a listen to prove yourself wrong.
However, I think it's safe to say that the night truly belonged to Thrice and Circa Survive. Between the two of them, there's a combined nearly 30 years of playing shows, and that experience really showed.
Thrice took the third spot in the lineup, playing just before Circa Survive, and at this point Terminal 5 was well close to completely filled up. It was pretty incredible to see three floors of people who had come out to catch these bands. And normally I cringe a little bit when I hear people starting to chant the band's name before they come out on stage, but I have to admit, it must be pretty cool to have people cheering and chanting for you night in and night out.
Even with most of the members of Thrice pushing 40, there was still a palpable electricity on stage and in the crowd when they played. Their roughly hour long set was a miniature tour through their extensive discography, and included hits from their most recent album To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
and some of their older classics. Hearing "Firebreather" live was such a throwback to when I was a wannabe little emo kid, wishing that I could somehow straighten my naturally curly hair into the cool swept emo bangs that everyone had at the time.
But the real highlight of the night was when Circa Survive came on. As I've mentioned, I professed a long-standing love for Circa and Anthony Green, and relish every chance I get to see them live.
And I have to say, it was pretty incredible seeing them again seven years after Anthony held my hand and sang to me in a little venue in South Carolina. This time around I was a little more subdued. I'm not quite the wild, indestructive 18 year old I was back then, and decided to let the crowd handle the mayhem while I focused on taking pictures, reflecting on it all and taking the whole scene in. And handle it they did.
I don't think Circa Survive made it halfway through their first song before the crowd surfers were pouring over the railing into the arms of waiting security. It was chaotic at first, for sure, but pretty quickly you got used to dodging a stray foot or elbow coming into the photo pit. Needless to say, Green thrived in that atmosphere, bouncing all over the stage with a frenetic energy that seemed like it would send him into convulsions at any minute. My belief that Green is the greatest stage performer ever was only strengthened that night.
Like Thrice, Circa Survive played a varied sampling of their large body of work. Having listened to them for so long, it meant a lot to the young me to hear them play tracks off of their first full-length, Juturna
, including "In Fear and Faith", probably the most essential Circa Survive track there is. Their set was a wild blend of material old and new, and I don't think anyone could have walked away from it unsatisfied. As I was getting a drink of water, watching the crowd sing along to "Glass Arrows", it dawned on me just how cool it was to share such an intimate moment with so many people who loved this band as much as I did.
I woke up the next morning with a scratch in my throat that has since turned into a full on sickness, and I can't help but feel like that's totally appropriate. This show wrung me dry mentally and physically, and the ache feels so good because of it.