November 16, 2017
Tuesday night’s show at the Fillmore reminded us that no matter how long a band has been around, it’s never smart to count them out. Bands like Thrice and Circa Survive have been consistently touring and putting out records year after year since the early 2000’s, and it was once again Charlotte’s turn to catch both groups on the same stage.
Fans gathered hurriedly outside of the Fillmore’s doors, anxiously trying to get inside in time to catch the two supporting bands of the heavyweight tour. Opening up was Balance and Composure, the emo/alternative up-and-comers who share the humble origins of Doylestown, Pennsylvania with none other than their headlining act, Circa Survive. With quite a repertoire and fan base of their own, it was interesting to see them first on stage, followed by CHON, a lesser-known but unequivocally talented four-piece hailing from San Diego, California. Both bands served as the perfect openers for the tour, as Balance and Composure serenaded the audience with their hallmarked blend of heart-wrenching emo and sultry electronic groove, whereas CHON shocked everyone with their tech-metal-grade shredding, sporting bright, clean tones and mind-numbingly complicated guitar work. The stratification between the bands’ sounds set just the right tone for the two headliners subsequent sets, taking the audience through the gamut of what to expect.
After CHON wrapped up their short-but-sweet performance, everyone clamored about, creating a buzz that swept through the room. Discussion flurried between comments on the openers and anticipation for the following sets. As the audience held their breath, Thrice made their move. The house lights fell to a pitch black before immediately bursting back into fantastic, frenzied strobes, revealing the legendary group from Irvine, CA, Thrice, in the flesh. Launching into “The Earth Will Shake,” a hit from their 2005 generation-defining record Vheissu, frontman Dustin Kensrue’s gritty voice blasted from the monitors as a blinding light show radiated behind him and the band. When a band as established and powerful as Thrice plays one of their first big hits, it’s hard not to lose yourself in the music, and nobody in the crowd seemed to resist the urge. Crowd surfers immediately sprung up all throughout the venue floor, crawling and bobbing forth to get within touching distance of the band, some reliving their adolescent glory days while others created theirs for the first time. Thrice’s set careened between old and new, including several tracks from their latest album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere as well as their latest single “Red Telephone,” while never straying too far from their roots, shocking the audience with songs from albums as far back as 2002. After concluding their set with “The Long Defeat,” an emotional anthem from their latest record, it was almost impossible to imagine Circa Survive being able to top what everyone had just seen.
However, Charlotte had no issue showing their exuberance for the twelve-year veterans as they burst forth, ready to leave everything on the stage. Few performers can match the energy and genuine explosiveness of Anthony Green, who engaged the crowd with a zeal unlike any of the other front-men that night. The band played through new hits and old, most notably a continuous crowd favorite, “Stop the Fucking Car,” a song that incited the most impassioned response from the room that night, causing a writhing mass of crowd-surfers. People jumped on top of one another to grab the microphone, which Green kept dangled over the front rows on-and-off throughout the course of the set. It seems that each time Circa Survive plays Charlotte, the crowds only get bigger, the voices shout louder, and the love for the band grows deeper.
It’s clear to see that it doesn’t matter how long a band has been around or how much their sound has changed over the years. If the love for what they’re doing has remained strong, their live show will reflect that passion. In the cases of Circa Survive and Thrice, they have shown that sticking around this long only serves as extra practice, as they continue to blow away show after show, playing each as if it was their first. One thing is for sure; if they keep up this pace, listeners can expect these two legends to stay on top for quite a while.
Check out the remaining dates for the Circa Survive and Thrice tour.