December 14, 2015 Circa Survive’s Juturna Celebrates 10 Years Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ 11-28-15 w/ Citizen & Rx Bandits
It was back in 2004 members of Saosin, This Day Forward, and Taken created a band by the name Circa Survive. A new beginning for each musician, they released their debut full-length album, Juturna, on April 19, 2005 via Equal Vision Records, and it would launch a very successful career for the band. Appropriately named after the Roman goddess of fountains and springs, this album opens the floodgates of love towards Circa Survive. Deriving influence from a variety of areas according Vocalist Anthony Green, he most prominently nods to the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as direct inspiration for the tracks “Oh, Hello” and “In Fear and Faith.” Now ten years since the release of Juturna, the core of Green, Bassist Nick Beard, Drummer Steve Clifford, as well as Guitarists Brendan Ekstrom and Colin Frangicetto has kept Circa Survive vital.
Always keeping busy with writing new music and touring, following support for their 2014 album Descensus, toward the end of July of 2015, Circa Survive announced a planned tenth anniversary Fall tour in honor of Juturna. Supported by Rx Bandits the entire run, it began on October 23rd in New York City, and the tour would run a little over a month long with stops coast to coast, including dates in Canada. In addition, to celebrate this momentous occasion, Circa Survive decided to do something extra on top of the traditional ten years tour and offer an exclusive VIP meet and greet before each of the shows. Unique from the traditional line up, grab a photo, and possibly a signature, Circa Survive decided they would much rather get intimate with the audience that devoted a decade of love to them. With that said, on the final night of the tour, on Saturday, November 28th, in Sayreville, NJ, fans made their way to Starland Ballroom filled with excitement.
Those who purchased the VIP package arrived well over an hour prior where they were met by the band. With smiles upon their faces, the intimate pre-show crowd was asked by Green to take a seat Indian style upon the floor. Beginning the experience with a completely unplugged acoustic set, they gave these lucky few a impassioned performances of the aforementioned “In Fear and Faith, ” as well as “House of Leaves.” Upon wrapping up on the acoustic set, the band asked the audience if they had any questions for the band or each individual member. Open to each inquiry with genuine happiness, they covered everything, including the story behind Ekstrom penned track ” House of Leaves ” to Green’s past substance abuse issues, and the band’s vows to stay sober and help him through all of his times of need. Seeing this band answer question after question, one could easily see why they are held in such high regard by their followers. After this special event, the show would begin shortly thereafter, and a sold out Starland Ballroom was ready to launch into the historic night of music.
First to take the stage as part of the main show was a band by the name of Citizen. Hailing from Ohio and Michigan, their journey began back in 2009 while the members were still in High School. Consisting of Vocalist Mat Kerekes, Guitarist/Vocalist Nick Hamm, Drummer Jake Duhaime, Guitarist Ryland Oehlers, and Bassist Eric Hamm, their roots began in Pop Punk, but they quickly altered musical direction, adopting a more Indie Rock sound. Signing with New England based Independent label Run for Cover, under the watchful eye of Circa Survive producer Will Yip, they released their debut full-length album, Youth. Now in 2015, the band is back with their sophomore album, Everybody Is Going to Heaven, to positive acclaim.
Opening their set with “Cement,” they immediately grabbed the audience’s ears. Featuring the calm, but powerful vocals of Kerekes, accompanied by personal deep lyrics, and the addition of ambient guitars, they played on with songs like “Numb Yourself,” “Stain,” “Silo,” and “Sleep.” Through their eight song showcase, they also played “The Night I Drove Alone” before closing with favorite “The Summer” with the help of Anthony Green. Staying on stage after Citizen departed, Green proceeded to utilize the band’s gear to play an unknown Metal-like song with the help of stage hands. Catching everyone off guard, Green announced the name of the band was FOOD, perhaps a side-project of his that many never thought would see the light of day. Nonetheless, the surprise had everyone cheering with excitement, but more over thoroughly impressed with Citizen.
Following the exhilarating performance by Citizen, California’s Rx Bandits were next to performance. Begun back in 1995, these veterans have seen success more than a few occasions, playing the likes of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2007, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2010, and Vans Warped tour on multiple occasions. Well-versed in the art of stage presence and producing an amazing live experience, Rx Bandits continue to support their seventh overall studio album, Gemini, Her Majesty, from 2014. With the line-up of Matt Embree (vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboard), Steve Choi (guitar, keyboards, vocals, percussion), Joseph Troy (bass, vocals), and Christopher Tsagakis (drums), they were ready to take over Starland Ballroom in their direct supporting slot.
Starting off with “Ruby Cumulous,” everyone immediately felt the groove of the music and vibe projected by RX Bandits. It is undeniable that something about the atmosphere the band creates leaves their audience feeling good as many were seen smiling and dancing around on the floor. This continued as they played on with songs such as “Decrescendo,” “Stargazer,” as well as 2006’s album title track, “…And The Battle Begun.” Lively and full of passion, they rocked through other songs like “Apparition,” “Wide Open,” and the dazzling “Only For The Night.” Then giving the crowd another treat, Green climbed back on stage to perform The Sound of Animals Fighting track “Skullflower” for a cool and calm sensation. Embracing Matt Embree, Green departed from the stage only to return before the conclusion of Rx Bandits set to reunite FOOD to play another song recognized as “Fuck You.” Nothing less than beautiful and engaging musically, Rx Bandits did a phenomenal job keeping everyone’s full, undivided attention.
Packed on every level of the venue, from the bar area in the rear to against the barricades in front of the stage, everyone was completely aroused for the arrival of Circa Survive. Having made regular visits to Starland Ballroom year after year, it seemed almost fitting this ten year anniversary run would end at the venue, despite the band playing in their hometown of Philadelphia, PA the night prior. With that in mind, suddenly the lights dimmed to a low shade of blue and the room became immersed with fog as each member of Circa Survive appeared on stage.
Taking their places, “Holding Someone’s Hair Back” kicked in and the energy in the room was explosive. As Ekstrom and Frangicetto wailed on their guitars, Clifford provided a thunderous drum beat, Beard a throbbing bass line, and Green a beautiful, piercing voice. Only a few minutes into the set, everyone was already moving and screaming every lyric back at the band. Wasting no time to show the fans affection, Green stood over the barricade, leading them in cheers. Quickly moving forward, “Act Appalled” came next as Green danced around with mounds of energy. Staying true to Juturna track order, “In Fear and Faith,” “The Glorious Nosebleed” and “Stop the Fuckin’ Car” were just a few of the highlights early on.
Kicking the energy up a notch, “Oh, Hello” saw giant balls be released into the sea of hands as voices yelled the words back in unison. Followed by “Always Getting What You Want,” naturally, the set ended with Juturna album closer “Meet Me in Montauk” with a celebration of confetti flowing through the air and coating Starland Ballroom. Having many wondering if that would in fact be the end of the show, Circa Survive returned to the stage just a few moments later to deafening cheers of joy. Happy to return for the encore, they touched on their debut, The Inuit Sessions EP, beginning with “Suspending Disbelief” then going into “Handshakes at Sunrise” before concluding with Juturna hidden track “House of Leaves,” a fitting way to end a spectacular night.
The whole evening was a perfect tribute to an album that began a magnificent journey for Circa Survive. Prior to forming Circa Survive, each member may have felt uncertain on where they would be heading in their career. They were looking for a creative outlet where they would have the freedom to explore their sound. That is exactly what they found, and Juturna marked the beginning. These five musicians are doing exactly what they love and treat one another as family. One could be pretty confident to say everyone inside Starland Ballroom, for the final night of the tour, was completely satisfied with this ten year anniversary celebration and hope for more great things to come from Circa Survive.