Circa Survive spent the last couple months touring in support of their fantastic new album, Violent Waves. I caught the beginning of the tour in Philly, and on Saturday 10/27 I caught the last night of this leg of the tour in Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom. In the last year alone I think I have photographed Circa Survive around 5 times, and a couple solo Anthony Green shows as well. If you are reading this, then you probably know that already. I said it a couple months back, but with O’Brother, Balance and Composure and Touche’ Amore’ as tour support, Violent Waves really was one of the best tours I have seen.
Considering that I already covered this tour at the start, I might do this a little differently. It is easy to talk about set lists, or how amazing each of these bands are. One thing that you might not know is how much of a family everyone on this tour really is. I think people always say that when they are playing shows together, but I have been able to see it first hand. It was evident that night at Starland as well. I have spent time backstage talking to these guys, hanging out on the side stage watching the other bands play with Anthony Green, I have seen first hand how much they all really like each other.
O’Brother opened this night like they have been the whole tour. I am a fan of this band, and it is easy to see why they were added to this tour. They go out there and leave it all on the stage every night. They sound a little better every time I see them play, and they certainly had plenty of fans in the audience that night. Being the last night of the tour, I think they all wanted to make sure it was a little special. So when Anthony Green came out to play guitar towards the end of their set, it was met with screams. That kinda set the theme of guests for the rest of the night.
Balance and Composure were up next and they are another band I absolutely love. They played mostly songs from their last album, but those are the songs everyone loves. Stonehands, Quake, Fade, Progress Progress. They only played a 7 song set, but they left sweaty and smiling, and we all smiled along with them. I met front man Jon Simmons at their other show a couple months back, and he greeted me like an old friend when I saw him after their set. It just re-affirmed to me how nice all these guys really were.
Touche’ Amore’ were after B&C. I had never listened to them until I saw them on this tour a couple months back, and honestly, I have no idea what Jeremy Bolm is singing. But goddamn does TA know how to work a stage. Reminds me a bit of Defeater, another band that gets crowds riled up. They move like they are attacking every note, and you can’t help to move along with them. Towards the end of their set Geoff Rickly of Thursday came out and lost his fucking mind on stage with them. It is always nice to see Geoff singing again, but having him home at Starland Ballroom was really special. Before they left the stage Nick Beard of Circa came out, dressed in an insane outfit, and sang Creed acapella well TA stood around him laughing. Awesome.
They left the stage and shortly after Circa Survive came out; dressed like cops. It was almost Halloween and the guys decided that they were going to celebrate in NJ with 3000 of their friends. You can always feel the energy in the room change with Circa takes the stage. It’s like everyone holds their breath and then they all let it out together when the guys rip into their first song. And on that night, their first song was a crowd favorite: Act Appalled. It was obvious that this was going to be a fun night. I have said it before that not many people have more stage presence than Anthony Green. He wasted no time at all getting right on the barricade and holding everyone’s hand in the front row. And behind him, Brendan, Nick, Steve and Colin were spot on. Considering how many times I have seen them lately, it still blows my mind how good they are. Another thing that catches me off guard is how much I look forward to seeing them play again, even though I have seen them so many times already.
Their set list is always pretty great and they made sure they covered all the albums. For Lottery Geoff came out again for his part and nailed it. Anthony and Geoff are going to be touring together soon, and you can plainly see how much they respect each other. Jeremy Bolm of Touche’ lent some screams later on to Glass Arrows. They played everything you would hope they would play, Stop the Fuckin Car, Sharp Practice, In Fear and Faith, The Difference Between…, Imaginary Enemy, and they sounded perfect. They never stopped moving while the huge LED panels behind them constantly changed colors. It felt like Anthony spent as much time in the crowd as he did on stage, but that is what makes everyone feel so connected to him. Confetti canons and screaming along to every word, so good.
Anthony always spends time talking to the crowd, thanking everyone for being there. He told us that this was the best night of the tour. For some reason, when he says it it doesn’t sound like bullshit from another band. They have been closing with Get Out lately and that night was no different. Such a high note to end on.
I said it two months ago when this tour started. I said just go. Just go see these incredible bands. For now at least, the Violent Waves tour is over. I am sure that at some point in the spring it will pick up again. Just fucking go. Seriously. I see a lot of shows. I have met a lot of bands. No one has been more genuine than Circa Survive has. And no one else has impressed me so often. Anthony Green has made me feel like a friend when there was nothing in it for him. But it isn’t just me. Every night that they go on tour, that band works to make everyone feel welcome. When push comes to shove, there are too many “rock stars” and not enough good dudes playing incredible music. Circa Survive is that band. That is reason enough to support them. If you haven’t seen Circa Survive play live yet, just..go.