Circa Survive / Title Fight / Tera Melos - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Circa Survive / Title Fight / Tera Melos

live in Boston (2014)

live show

Circa Survive have taken very little time off since parting ways with a major label and self-releasing their last album, 2012's excellent Violent Waves. They've hit this general area plenty since, with a stacked-bill headliner in support of that album with Touché Amoré, Balance and Composure, and O'Brother in September 2012; a pretty sweet co-headliner with Minus the Bear (and Now, Now) in Providence that following March; and then a cool intimate show a few months back in Pawtucket. But as long as they keep churning out great new music and/or bringing out quality openers, I'll keep seeing them. This tour that just kicked off as the band ramp up for the release of their new album, Descensus, is no exception, with the always-enjoyable Title Fight and kooky math-rockers Tera Melos.

This first day of the tour hit Circa's usual spot in Boston: the 2,425-cap House of Blues. Tera Melos had just started things when I got to the show, and while I expected them to provide a nice segue to Title Fight by leaning on the more laid-back, Dinosaur Jr.-leaning X'ed Out released a few months back, they seemed to play a good swath of material from across their catalog for their half-hour. A couple people seemed pretty into it, even the more frenetic material that found the three-piece tapping and spazzing away.

I expected Title Fight to get at least some sort of reaction, and they sure did, with plenty of push-pits, two-stepping, crowd-climbing and a bit of barricade-rushing sing-alongs for an opener at a big venue. Hell, people even gave them the "ONE MORE SONG!" cheers after hazy closer "Head in the Ceiling Fan". I've seen them play a little tighter and sound a little fuller before, but this was Day 1 of the tour, and they've at least hit a nice groove over the last few years where you know you're getting a performance that's a legitimate cut above their sloppier, off-key days of yore. This may have been the first time I ever saw them snub Kingston completely, too (which I was fine by). The set list drew nicely from their last two albums, adding a few off the sandwiching The Last Thing You Forget and Spring Songs EPs. The band gave plenty of love back to Boston and offered a teeny bit of song insight here and there, mentioning how "Leaf" was about watching the seasons change (makes sense) and how "Blush" was influenced by either "Slip" (meaning the Quicksand album, presumably?) or "Skip" (Turning Point singer Skip Candelori?). It must have been the former--they took the time to gush once more about the nearly year-old Spring Songs being on Revelation ("REV154," Ned Russin beamed).

Set list (8:44-9:31):

Secret Society
Numb, But I Still Feel It
Be a Toy
Like a Ritual
Make You Cry
No One Stays at the Top Forever
Head in the Ceiling Fan

I didn't expect Circa Survive to get out on stage until 10:00 on the dot, so when the lights dimmed and they walked on eight minutes before that, it was a pleasant and appreciated surprise. They played a pretty terrific hour and change of material that interestingly went heaviest on 2010's Blue Sky Noise, plucking two-to-three songs off their other four studio albums (one of which is the upcoming Descensus). They sounded unsurprisingly great, with Anthony Green stalking about the stage and occasionally flailing his arms around in a manner that made me think of Balance and Composure's Jon Simmons (maybe he was taking pointers on their tour together). He captivated the crowd as he tends to do with lots of arena rock-style, high-pitched "YEAH!" call-and-response barks, giving his demented-eyed motions for everyone to move closer, and always effortlessly belting out the androgynous melodies that blend so smoothly with his band's proggy emo/rock/whatever. They had a projection screen that mostly just showed abstract videos of swirling colors or dirt-road scenery at times and tasteful spotlights on the floor of the stage arcing upward, mostly bathing themselves in red light for the duration of the set and making for a nice, warm atmosphere for their spacey musical flourishes. Of course, the audience loved it all, basically, including the new songs, like "Schema" and its cool, dirge-y, Tool-esque bass break. It's also neat to see the median age get juuuust a little older each year too, because that means a less insane mass of people constantly wanting to lose their collective mind and press up against each other, in turn allowing one to stand near the stage and still retain a bit of personal space. (Good luck doing this at a Brand New show any time soon.)

Set list (9:52-11:07):

Through the Desert Alone
Strange Terrain
Sharp Practice
Glass Arrows
Schema [new]
Fever Dreams
The Greatest Lie [with a little salute to Ace of Base's "All That She Wants", perhaps in sly reference to his wife]
Kicking Your Crosses Down
In Fear and Faith
Stop the Fuckin' Car
Only the Sun [new]
Frozen Creek
The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is in the Dose
Child of the Desert [new]
Encore (11:10-11:14):
Get Out