Circa Survive are currently on the road celebrating the tenth anniversary of their sophomore album On Letting Go with two pretty awesome openers: Run For Cover labelmates mewithoutYou and Turnover. The tour hit NYC for two consecutive sold-out shows at Webster Hall over the weekend (the same place mewithoutYo u and Turnover played a month ago for their label's festival). We caught the second show, which happened last night (1/15).
The room was already pretty packed for Turnover's opening set at 7:30 PM, and their emo-tinged dream pop sounded great as ever. Like at most recent shows, they stuck to their sophomore album Peripheral Vision and the two-song 7" that followed, which made for a set that was heavy on atmosphere (and worked great with the pastel-colored lights).
mewithoutYou followed and pulled from all over their diverse discography, reaching back to their 2001 post-hardcore debut for "Nice and Blue" and "Gentlemen," digging into their folky side with "The Angel of Death Came to David's Room," their art rock side with "O, Porcupine," and more (full setlist below). They bookended the set with the two heaviest songs off their most recent album, 2015's Pale Horses, "Red Cow" and "Rainbow Signs." As always, their presence on stage was as unique and powerful as the songs themselves. The only thing holding their set back at all was the tame audience, who seemed mostly unfamiliar with the band, but -- as would soon be very clear -- this was very much a Circa Survive crowd.
As soon as Circa walked out, masses of people from all directions rushed to get close to the stage, and just about everyone screamed every word from start to finish. People really, really like Circa Survive. And Circa still have the chops to quench the thirsts of those crazy fans. As you've probably noticed, this past week has had tons of music nerds posting lists of the albums they listened to in high school on Facebook, and On Letting Go was one of those for me. It kinda combined Warped Tour-ready post-hardcore with proggy space rock in a way that no one else was really doing at the time. Circa never got quite as interesting as now-critically-reassessed bands from that scene like Brand New or Thursday (or mewithoutYou), but they were a hell of a lot better than From First to Last or whatever (sorry Skrillex).
I kinda checked out with Circa Survive after On Letting Go, but last night offered a nice dose of nostalgia. The band play like pros, the visual elements of the show were great (they had hot air balloons mimicking the album artwork), and Anthony Green gives it 110% performance-wise. This might be a weird comparison, but there were so many similarities between his stage presence and George from Deafheaven's, that I wonder if there's any mutual appreciation going on there. They played the whole album and b-sides from the era, and the show never really hit any low points at all. If anything, I probably could've gone for a few more songs.
Check out pictures of the show in the gallery above and mewithoutYou's setlist below.
mewithoutYou @ Webster Hall - 1/15/17 Setlist
Wolf Am I! (And Shadow)
Nice and Blue
The Angel of Death Came to David's Room
photos by Amanda Hatfield