Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Better Than: Those love poems you wrote in eighth grade about Julie, er, or was it Sarah?
One thing is clear: Anthony Green has found love. Well, that’s not just because he really did recently marry his longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend. It’s also obvious when listening to the singer/songwriter’s debut solo album, Avalon – an 11-track acoustic-driven release that’s got a heavy focus on relationships. Songs like “Baby Girl” and “She Loves Me So” are undeniably the kind of stuff that only an enamored guy can write – especially lines like: “Make sure all those mother fucking boys know/She loves me so.” Sure, it’s emo, but it’s touching, really, and quite a jump from the mosh-pit music he and his Philadelphia-based prog-rock band Circa Survive usually perform.
“This shit’s gonna be good,” Green promised us as he kicked off the set. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought so, the excited diehard fans were already jammed up to the front of the stage, practically panting for the show to start. It’s always interesting to see what will happen when a singer breaks away from their original band (although Green brought along two members of Circa Survive for this tour) for a side-project. Green was joined by three other guitarists, one also playing keyboard, a drummer and a bassist. It was no accident that it was essentially the members of one of the opening Vampire Weekend-meets-Human Highway trio, Good Old War, a group Green made known to us that he considers “family.”
No stranger to South Florida, Green has toured with Circa Survive to our area several times. He commented: “I never expected that the first time I came here to play for you guys that you would all show up, so thank you.” Tonight’s crowd was a healthy mix of high school to late 20-somethings – and while it wasn’t sold out, it was an impressive filled-to-the-brim scene. Kids who would normally stir up mosh-pits were now passionately singing along to all the sappy choruses. “Thanks for singing along,” the lead man told us.
Although Green is most often seen as the overly energetic lead singer for Circa Survive, tonight he revealed a softer side, playing an acoustic guitar, sometimes a harmonica and singing sweet, emo-charged tunes. For the most part, he displayed a sentimental, Dashboard Confessional-style persona, but then there were the moments when his raging, sweaty Circa moves took over this otherwise subdued performance. During those episodes Green turned into the familiar spazz-matic front man with whom everyone is most familiar – slinging around his guitar, violently throwing his hands around and shaking his head in a seizure-like fashion.
While Green ripped through practically every song on his latest album, as well as a Circa Survive selection, this audience sang along in union every word. Even though Green probably loves and feels more at ease with his posse of musicians, it was his true solo stage moments that stood out most. With his passion-fueled androgynous wails, Green proved he really knows how to captivate an audience with only a microphone and guitar. It was as if the audience was clinging to his every word and move. These more open-mic-like selections were highlights of the evening. It was also, apparently, an opportunity for some lame dude (who obviously hadn’t done his homework) to shout out to Green: “I want to make love to you!” Yeah, and I am quite sure that he was being serious.
Rounding off the evening with the famous single, “Dear Child (I’ve Been Dying To Reach You),” Green and his crew finished without an encore. A few weeks prior to the tour, Green had considered sharing the stage for this tune with a fan, someone who could best perform the song beforehand in a contest YouTube-style way, but there was no such audience-involvement stunt. It didn’t matter because the onlookers tonight couldn’t have been more enthralled. What was apparent with Circa Survive, has only been reiterated with this show – Anthony Green is a magnetic musician and performer that seemingly no one can help but to love.
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Personal Bias: Anthony Green always seems completely sincere about whatever he’s doing.
Random Detail: Green and his band Circa Survive share a home in Philadelphia and do hippie things like having a weekly paint-night.
By the Way: Green claims that he may release more solo material in the future.
-- Monica Cady