Circa Survive’s fans have to be some of the most die-hard you’ll ever come across. The strong, high-pitched voice of vocalist Anthony Green drives them insane as they crowd surf, run, jump and scream. These seemingly normal Converse-clad young adults – both male and female – of whom you probably bummed a smoke to out on the patio, later changed form into even more rambunctious versions as soon as the band took the stage.
These Philly musicians visit Arizona often and since the release of their 2005 debut album Juturna, they find themselves playing to packed venues, most recently in March 2011. The band’s October 5th desert stop, again at the Marquee was no exception. With their widely-acclaimed fourth album, Violent Waves, self- released on August 28th, one might have expected silence from a crowd where, while half the crowd looked like they’d turn their noses up, “Ugh, I liked ‘em better in 2005,” and the other half looked like they were hardly old enough to drink, let alone vividly remember Green’s transition from Saosin to Circa Survive. Despite these differences, everyone seemed satisfied with the set list, which varied in a good range of the band’s discography.
Where silence was expected, there came none. These kids, and, err, adults, knew every word to every single Circa song as they screamed with hands in the air. And though Circa’s sound gets a little rough sometimes with feedback that echoed throughout the venue, it’s pretty damn melancholy, both lyrically and melodically -- and sometimes an odd soundtrack to crowd surf to.
Neon light squares flashed toward the back of the stage through every song. Greens and blues and yellows set the tone and vibe that correlated nicely with front-man Green’s introspective lyricism throughout the set – a kind of joyful, ironic melancholy. “Your face is light and cocaine white,” Green sang to slow rhythm during "Stop the Fucking Car" as fans crowd surfed and were caught by security and set running again toward the back of the crowd. Circa Survive has this sort of effect on people.
One fan in particular stood with his smartphone in the air the entire set. He was skyping with his girlfriend so she could watch the show. By the time Circa began playing The Great Golden Baby and Green sang, "I would really love if you'd sit him down. I would really love if you pulled this thread," the girl sang and was near to tears. That’s what Anthony Green does to his fans. Whatever the spell, it works – even when he’s kind of a jerk.
Yeah, a real jerk. At one point, the crowd was overcome with excitement. They began to clap – and truthfully, it was sort of an awkward time to clap, but whatever. He demanded that everyone “stop clapping,” and they did….immediately! Everyone kind of looked at each other like,...."what?" But they continued on singing, no phasing whatsoever. The general consensus seemed to be that it’s totally cool when you’re Anthony Green.
Then the balloons and confetti appeared out of nowhere. Dozens of large balloons bounced among the crowd. Some popped when they hit the ceiling, spraying the crowd with even more confetti. Combined with the music and the lights and the sound, it was sort of beautiful. Everyone felt it. That’s the Circa Survive effect.