May 18, 2015 Circa Survive close out tour in style Sherman Theater Stroudsburg, PA 5-3-15 w/ CHON & Balance and Composure
Since forming in 2004, by ex-members of Saosin, Taken, and This Day Forward, Circa Survive seem to not be able to break the stride of creating hit after hit, from 2005 album Juturna all the way to the newest powerhouse 2014 release Decensus. Fans keep coming back for more, and it is easy to see why when one dives into the dynamic powerful vocals brought on by lead vocalist Anthony Green, the hauntingly technical guitar riffs from Brendon Ekstrom, backed up by Colin Fragincetto, and finally the Jazz-like bass lines brought by Nick Beard and drums of Steve Clifford. Circa Survive’s sound, although classified as American Rock, is so much more and derives from many genres, culminating in a sound that is like no other band out there. Spreading the ” real magic,” as Anthony refers to it, across, the Spring of 2015 has seen the band hit the road again on the Decensus Tour, bringing along Balance and Composure and CHON for the ride. Beginning back on March 16th, the final stop of the tour came two months later on Sunday May 3rd at the historical Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Fittingly wrapping up the long trek in their home state, fans traveled from far and wide to see what would end up being a fantastic show.
First up was San Diego, California’s CHON. Signed to Sumerian Records a short two years ago, CHON have released an EP and, most recently, on March 24th, their full-length album, entitled Grow. While not a typical band, CHON harness an instrumental Progressive Rock sound all their own. While an average listener may look at the lack of vocals as a negative, this band make up for that greatly on the technical side of music. Featuring intricate guitar riffs by Mario Camarena and Erick Hansel, defining bass by Drew Pelisek, and drumming of Nathan Camerna, it is easy to see why Circa Survive decided to to take CHON along for this twenty-seven stop tour.
Starting things off with the song “Splash,” Sherman Theater welcomed the band with cheers, having their eyes and ears aimed toward the stage. Memorized by the music talents of CHON, tracks like “Dew,” “Fluffy,” “Book,” and “Knot” were just a few of the special moments early on. Rifling through a thirteen song set, CHON closed out there jam session with there own version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” entitling the rendition “Elliptical Illuminations.” As most closing notes of tours, Circa Survive came out to play a prank on CHON during the finale, all in the name of good fun. This band set a high bar for the acts to follow and were a must watch from start to finish. Catch them on tour now with The Contortionist through the end of May.
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Following CHON, direct support Balance and Composure were up next. Hailing from Circa Survive’s hometown of Doylestown, PA, Balance and Composure have landed themselves on Billboard’s charts with their sophomore 2013 album’ The Things We Think We’re Missing. Configured as a 5-piece band, their members consist of Jon Simmons (vocals/guitar), Erik Petersen (guitar), Andy Slaymaker (guitar/vocals), Matt Warner (bass), and Bailey Van Ellis (drums). Combining a mix of Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore, and even some Grunge, Balance and Composure raise the question of is there something in the water of Doylestown that spawn such talented acts such as themselves and Circa Survive.
Starting off their set with “Reflections,” the lights raised high and bright with Simmons standing behind his microphone, wailing on guitar and screaming the lyrics as the fans mimicked the words back. Looking around, Sherman Theater was packed full of dedicated Balance and Composure followers full of enthusiasm as the band played songs like “Back of Your Head,” “I’m Swimming,” and “Stonehands.” Following with “Void,” “Quake,” and “Tiny Raindrop,” Balance and Composure proved their years of dedication to composing strong songs has paid off. Bringing each track to life in front of the audience, the band seemed inspired by the positive feedback through the final moments of their set. Closing with 2013’s “Cut Me Open,” Circa Survive’s Green accompanied the band moments prior for “Enemy,” finishing off the performance with a powerful secondary vocal. Fortunately for fans, Balance and Composure will be a part of Idobi Meltdown Festival 2015, a mere short drive away in Sayreville, NJ, June 26th.
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The time had come for the peak to a night of unforgettable music with Circa Survive on a stage backlit by glowing Tetris style light boxes. One by one, the band came onto the stage, and finally Green grabbed the microphone and stood crouching down over the fans yelling, asking if they were ready. Without hesitation, the band burst into magic in the form of “Child of the Desert.” Giving off a modern day Doors vibe, with Green being the musical shaman as Jim Morrison was, all members of Circa Survive moved in a rhythmic chaos on stage. The spectators filling Sherman Theater were no exception to the emotion as the lights flashed in radiant colors behind and Ekstorm, alongside Fragincetto, wailed through Jazz induced chords and progressions. Moving into another hit off of Decensus, they dove into “Schema,” a song known for its aggressive vocals and lyrics driven by the powerful drums and bass of Clifford and Beard. Green flailed from side to side on stage, and at one point tossed the microphone and stand in the air, only to catch them right as the song dropped.
Playing a set of dreams for a true Circa Survive fan, the band touched on favorites including “Holding Someone’s Hair Back ” “In Fear and Faith,” and “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is the Dose.” Every song was matched with fans screaming each word, with points that they were even overpowering the band. Towards the end of their set, Green came on stage for a sludgy drum solo following “Nesting Dolls” to amp the mood up another notch. Upon finishing their finale of “Get Out,” a big explosion ensued as the audience roared loudly. It was a fitting song to end the performance, with everyone in the room moving and screaming at the top of their lungs.
Circa Survive were nothing less than perfect on the final night of the North American tour. They showed no signs of fatigue from the extensive string of shows and gave everything they had to Sherman Theater. Some may say it was one of the most intense shows to ever grace the stage of Sherman Theater. Now over in Europe through June 6th, Circa Survive look to continue to spread their magic with their explicitly invigorating live show.