It is always great when a concert feels like a party. Every time Circa Survive comes to town, anyone in attendance is sure to have a killer time singing and dancing along with friends old and new. On Wednesday, November 14th, Circa Survive brought their mobile dance party to Los Angeles, California’s historic theater known as The Wiltern. This time, they were continuing to celebrate The Amulet, the band’s most recent LP. Originally released in 2017, the band very recently released a deluxe edition featuring a few brand new tracks. To help them kick things off, the band brought along emerging band Queen of Jeans and the beloved La Dispute.
The show had unfortunately been moved at the last minute from the Hollywood Palladium to the much smaller Wiltern, but the place was already pretty densely packed by the time Queen of Jeans quietly took the stage. This Philadelphia quartet has been making some big waves in the scene with their intricate sound that is a magical combination of ’90s Rock and modern Indie, something the band perfectly describes as ‘Crockpot Pop.’ Just this year, the band released their excellent LP Dig Yourself, which has captured the attention of publications and fans alike.
Similar to their albums, Queen of Jeans are deceptively quiet on stage, though their harmony-filled Pop tunes pack quite a punch. Playing songs like “U R My Guy” and “More to Love,” the band showed off their stellar musicianship and ability to create druidic vocal harmonies. The crowd went crazy when Queen of Jeans closed out their set with a subdued cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” Band members Miriam Devora, Matheson Glass, Nina Scotto, and Patrick Wall really went all out for their final song of the evening, showing some wild enthusiasm on stage.
As always, it is refreshing to see a band like Queen of Jeans being taken out on large tours like this one. Too often, every band on the bill is comprised of only men, so having Queen of Jeans warm up the evening was like a breath of fresh air. No doubt they gained themselves a host of new supporters that night.
Queen of Jeans may have been a hard act to follow, but Michigan’s La Dispute were definitely up to the task. Since releasing their incredible 2014 LP, Rooms of the House, La Dispute has been pretty quiet, so fans were definitely eager to see the band return to the stage after quite some time. Since the band was celebrating ten years since the release of their 2008 debut LP, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, members Jordan Dreyer (vocals), Brad Vander Lugt (drums), Chad Sterenberg (lead guitar), Adam Vass (bass), and Corey Stroffolino (rhythm guitar) were ready to trot out some fan-favorite classics from that release, and play a few from their other two LPs, of course.
Though the band has been together since 2004, they have only released three LPs – with a fourth hopefully set to release in early 2019 – as the band takes time to perfect each album until it becomes unforgettable. Rooms of the House rightfully made its way to the top of a number of album of the year lists, and the hundreds of fans with the band’s logo tattooed somewhere on their bodies would agree that each album is amazing in its own way.
The same can be said of their live show. From the first moment the band took the stage, Dreyer took over every inch of it, climbing into the crowd as the band played through old favorites “New Storms for Older Lovers” and “The Castle Builders.” The band’s sound is difficult to nail down, using a combination of spoken word poetic vocals, Math-Rock guitars, and some Post-Punk heart. Even those in the audience who were unfamiliar with the band seemed responsive to the band’s crazy energy as they played through “First Reactions After Falling Through Ice,” the chill love song “Woman (In Mirror),” and “The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit.”
Pausing for only a moment to thank everyone for making the space an inclusive and safe environment for all, they continued their set with “HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956,” “Stay Happy There,” “Mayor in Splitsville,” and “Woman (Reading),” all from Rooms of the House. Then, fans pressed in tight for the heart-wrenching “King Park” from 2011’s Wildlife, before closing out their set with “Said the King to the River” and “Such Small Hands.” The band exited the stage after a stellar performance that could have easily ended the night, but the party was just getting started.
Finally, it was time for Circa Survive to take over. This band has been touring seemingly nonstop in support of their newest record, and the band’s dedicated fans seem more than happy to purchase their VIP upgrades, sport brand new t-shirts, and rock their tattoos. Since the band came together in 2004, they have released six LPs and toured the world a number of times, including two different ten years tours: one for 2005 debut album Juturna, and one for 2007’s On Letting Go. Now, in celebration of The Amulet, Circa Survive were ready to serve their fans with a solid mix of their entire discography.
The stage was in near total darkness as Anthony Green (lead vocals), Colin Frangicetto (guitar), Brendan Ekstrom (guitar), Nick Beard (bass), and Steve Clifford (drums) emerged. Then, stand alone light bulbs began to flash, illuminating the stage in an eerie glow as the band began their set with “Lustration.” It was not long until the lights exploded with color and Green went wild across the stage, engaging each and every fan during “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is in the Dose” and “Strange Terrain.” Though the pit at The Wiltern is incredibly small and limited to only those who get there early enough to claim a wristband, it seemed as though everyone in the venue was trying to get as close as possible as Green happily encouraged fans to get their bodies moving.
The party train didn’t stop as the band played through songs like “Child of the Desert,” “Birth Of The Economic Hit Man,” and “In the Morning and Amazing…” Each song had its own accompanying background lighting courtesy of the band’s insane lighting rig, giving each track its own particular mood. Fans seemed especially excited to hear older tracks from Juturna like “In Fear and Faith,” “Stop the Fuckin’ Car,” and “We’re All Thieves.” Nearly everyone in the room could be heard singing along to “Act Appalled,” the band’s one acoustic performance of the evening.
Though it seemed as though the party had just begun, Circa Survive wound down their set with an explosive performance of fan-favorite “Get Out” before exiting the stage. Before they had even fully left, the entire room seemed to be chanting for “one more song!” So, of course, it wasn’t long until the band returned to put a cap on the party with “Battle, My Love” and “The Amulet.”
Fans were buzzing as they filed out of the venue and onto the street, dodging hot dog vendors and bootleg t-shirt sellers while talking animatedly about their favorite moments of the evening. For a city so recently devastated by wildfire, it was certainly a relief to let it all out with these three bands. The Amulet Tour is almost over, so be sure to grab your tickets and catch this show soon!
11/20 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live!
11/24 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
11/25 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
11/27 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
11/28 – St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live
11/30 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground
12/01 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
12/02 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium
Purchase Dig Yourself:
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Purchase Rooms of the House:
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Purchase The Amulet:
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