Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Saturday night at the Culture Room, sleeve tattoos were displayed, vocal cords were pushed to their limit, and a few tears were probably shed as Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green, backed by Good Old War, lead what amounted to a highly emotional, group sing-along.
Green poured his heart out from start to finish, and the audience followed suit. As he stood, drenched in sweat, chest tattoo glistening in the bright lights, droplets of moisture flinging from his effortlessly coifed hair, the faces in the crowd became flushed along with his as they shared vocal duties. And they did so with such spirit, conviction, and surprising ability that he often stepped back from the mic and let his friends carry the tune.
When on the mic, he continuously engaged and impressed, not holding back anything. The performance featured sternum-shattering moments such as "Moon Song," in which the frequency of the singer's high-throated rasp seemed to escalate to impossible levels, and also softer, but just as heartfelt, melodic, poppy numbers. The set list was well-arranged, allowing the show to flow through a range of moods without losing intensity for a moment.
The songs were drawn from both Green's solo catalog and Circa Survive material. At one point in the set, fans were treated to a surprise as Green welcomed Circa Survive guitarist Brendan Ekstrom to the stage. After joking that Ekstrom was in town to get plastic surgery --"dick surgery," to be specific -- the two proceeded to play crowd favorite "Get Out," from last year's Blue Sky Noise.
The show closed with a sing-along to end all sing-alongs. Green split the audience in half and assigned each a different vocal line for a group rendition of "Devil's Song." As the band played, the crowd sang their alternating parts with escalating enthusiasm, one-half singing "We're all in the same spot" and the other singing "This feels like a nightmare." The jam swelled until all in the building agreed that they were sharing a collective nightmare.
Some folks realized this earlier in the evening as the club was so overpacked that enjoying the show comfortably, let alone making it to the bathroom, was all but impossible. The good side of this was that there were so many cigarettes being smoked in the room that folks who ran out just had to breathe regularly to get their fix. Anyway, it was a very artistically beautiful nightmare thanks to the raw intimacy of Anthony Green.
The crowd: Sang as well as it dressed, which was good.
Random detail: The crowd adorably chanted "Encore! Encore! Encore!" when Green left the stage and roared with applause when he returned to oblige their request. In this day and age, the inclusion of an encore has become so standard that usually folks just stand around with an attitude of entitlement as they wait for the band to come back out to fulfill their nonobligation.
By the way: The Dear Hunter opened the night in stripped-down fashion, treating the audience to a set of their music performed as a trio via guitar, keys, and programmed drums.
Set list (partial)
"She Loves Me So"
" If I Don't Sing"
" Moon Song"
" Drug Dealer"
" Get Yours While You Can"
" When I'm on Pills"
" Stonehearted Man"
" James' Song"
" How It Goes"
" Miracle Sun"
"The First Day at the Microscope Store"
" Plays Pretty for Baby"
" Can't Have It All at Once"
" Seven Years"
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" Devil's Song"