There aren’t a lot of post-hardcore bands that utilize gigantic balloons, confetti cannons, and rainbow light displays. But then again, Circa Survive isn’t like most bands of their genre. For one thing, their fanbase is fierce: over the course of the band’s hour-plus-long set last Friday night at Terminal 5, the undulating crowd faithfully echoed every last lyric, their hands repeatedly shooting up to volley one of the giant balloons in another direction. The pit, meanwhile, was unrelenting and unexpectedly brutal, leading this reviewer to take refuge on the upper level.
And in the middle of it all was Anthony Green, one of the most enigmatic frontmen this side of Henry Rollins, trotting around the stage with childish abandon. When he wasn’t beckoning the crowd to get even closer to the stage, or tripping during the opening song (only to get back up with a wild grin) he was preaching positivity: “Don’t let it leave this room,” he said of the joyous vibes that filled the venue. “Take it with you out into the world.”
The set, meanwhile, was clearly designed with longtime fans in mind: though the band played plenty of cuts from their moody new release, Violent Waves (“Birth Of The Economic Hit Man” was especially awesome), there were plenty of earlier Circa classics: “In The Morning and Amazing…”, “Stop the Fuckin’ Car,” “In Fear And Faith.” Most surprising was a previously unheard cover of Björk’s “Jóga,” transformed here into a thriving prog epic for which Green’s searing falsetto was perfectly suited. Above all else, the mood was jubilant: one of the most beloved alternative rock bands of recent memory, making a victory lap in the wake of perhaps their best release yet.