Circa Survive

  • Date: March 25, 2018
  • Time: Show time 7:30PM
  • Location: Portland, ME
  • Venue: Aura

Circa Survive

w/ Foxing & Hail The Sun

Sunday, March 25th

Tickets on sale NOW :: ALL AGES :: Doors open at 6:30pm :: Show at 7:30pm


ABOUT CIRCA SURVIVE: Modern bands often seem faced with the choice between being challenging and being accessible. These ideas tend to be presented as opposite poles, two irreconcilable objectives that cannot co-exist without one taking precedence over the other. The time where unabashedly unconventional bands could engage the masses has long since past and those heavyweights have been relegated to the shelves of “classic rock,” with high concepts and grandeur replaced by irony and painful self-awareness. But for Circa Survive there exists another option, one where huge ideas and unbridled imagination can commingle with nuance and vulnerability. In their world, this dichotomy is not only achievable, it’s essential, and it fuels the band’s dauntless sixth full-length, The Amulet.

From the release of their 2005 debut, Juturna, to their 2010 major label release, Blue Sky Noise, to today with The Amulet, Circa Survive has made a career of turning all of the things that make them difficult to categorize into their greatest strengths. The word “progressive” is often used to describe their sound, and while this term doesn’t really do justice to the band’s distinct identity, it does conjure the scope and ambition of those iconic bands from decades ago, the ones that managed to capture the attention of mainstream audiences without sacrificing their esoteric tendencies. On The Amulet, Circa Survive continues this legacy, but filtered through the unique lens of their punk and alternative roots. Drawing on the raw power of punk and post-hardcore, the earnestness of emotional alternative, and the unrestrained experimentation of art rock, the band effortlessly creates a sound that can be compared to very few, but appeal to many. The Amulet’s mix of intricate guitars, muscular bass, and interlocking drums creates a dynamic foundation for vocalist Anthony Green’s unparalleled voice; however, the magic of Circa Survive isn’t just technical skill, it’s an ability to blend that technicality with undeniable sense of melody and hooks. It’s this focus on uncompromising yet satisfying songwriting that compels listeners, no matter their genre-of-choice.

Circa Survive’s sonic palette isn’t the only thing with which the band fearlessly experiments. The band’s use of overarching lyrical concepts from album to album has become just as pivotal to their identity. For Green, no idea is too big or too small, and everything can be explored with the same mix of wonderment, dark fascination, harrowing honesty, and hope. The Amulet pushes this approach to a demanding new level as Green examines parallels between the world ending, our chaotic social and political climate, and the very intimate strain of personal upheavals. A loss of innocence ties these drastically different threads together: a sense that certain events can irreparably change our perspectives and make it impossible to view our world, our governments, or our personal lives through the same rose colored glasses. Although many of the album’s themes are dark and formidable, there is a sense of hopefulness

that shines through The Amulet. Death is tied to birth, unrest is tied to revolution, emotional pain is tied to personal growth, and the only way to reach catharsis is to first lean into the storm. The Amulet is meant to be a tangible manifestation of that catharsis, the kind of relief that comes from accepting the pain of loss—personal, socio-political, and cosmic—and moving forward. These themes even apply to the band itself with Green saying, “the way the band was when it started is dead and this record feels like a bit of a rebirth in a lot of ways. Time has just weathered us, we got through the hard times and came out the other end, and I feel like this is the pinnacle of the band personally and creatively. It’s the most clear and concise version of what we are.”

After 13 years as a band, Circa Survive are no strangers to pushing sonic and lyrical boundaries, yet The Amulet still finds the band diving even farther into the deep end, pushing themselves to create brand new sounds, and taking on ideas that stretch from the universal to the most personal. In a musical landscape that seems predisposed towards instant gratification, Circa Survive may appear to be made from a mold that no longer exists, but fitting with modern bands or icons of the past has never been their goal. Circa Survive dares to ask more of themselves and their listeners—old and new— and in return they offer a soundtrack for the bold, the sincere, and the inquisitive.

ABOUT FOXING:  The members of Foxing will be the first to tell you that 2015 was a strange year for them. It started off normal enough: The rising quintet from St. Louis, Missouri began the year with plans to write their follow up to 2013’s much loved debut T he Albatross ( Triple Crown Records), which bears much in common with inventive post-rock groups like Sigur Rós and Explosions In The Sky while still retaining an exciting, emotional edge. It was at that point when things started to get murky.

“I read a really scathing review of our album that was very, very cutting,” begins bassist Josh Coll, one half of Foxing’s songwriting team alongside vocalist Conor Murphy. “The thing about that review was it spoke to me because everything that person was saying about our band were the things that I thought when I was feeling really low, in a moment of weakness or depression. It sent me spiraling. I had this idea on tour, like, ‘Why don’t we get away? Not have any cellphones or internet.’”

The band made plans to decamp to a secluded cabin in northern Vermont in February to write what would become Dealer, initially worried the sessions would result in failure. “We had just gotten done with the longest stretch of touring we had ever done, and tensions were very high,” Coll explains. “None of us have spent that long together in one particular place,” Murphy elaborates. “On tour, you can get away. With this, we’re all in the same house all the time. It made us all grow a lot closer to each other in a lot of ways.”

After having left the cabin with a batch of demos in hand and plans to record in Seattle with well respected producer Matt Bayles (Minus The Bear, Mastodon) weeks later, the band began doubting their work. “We had about six weeks before we went into the studio, and we started re-working the songs. That was a huge challenge for us,” Coll says. “When we went to Matt, the only thing he had heard were the cabin demos, and we came to him with these completely different songs,” remembers Murphy. “There was a lot of Matt telling us, ‘You guys have to remember why those songs were great in the first place, and why you took so much time to record them when you were up there.’”

The end result, Dealer, is an incredible piece of art that feels honest and true, emotionally resonant at its core and brutally honest in its lyrics. “On our last record, we really worked in tandem on those lyrics, editing each others’ stuff, but

there were times when we felt uncomfortable with this record lyrically a lot,” Murphy admits.

“At one point, I told Josh what I wanted to write about, and it was something really dark for me. And we matched each other with how dark we wanted to be and how vulnerable we wanted to be. It’s hard to edit someone’s lyrics when they’re talking about the darkest moment of their life.”

While Murphy and Coll keep their lyrics vague enough to be open to interpretation, it’s clear the duo are digging much deeper than your typical lover’s lament on tracks like the lush “The Magdalene,” the chaotic storm of “Eiffel” and the fragile apology found in “Three On A Match,” which finds Murphy repetitively pleading, “I’m sorry.” Their bandmates match their lyrical intensity with equivalent musicianship, and the result is a record that couldn’t have come into existence without the struggle and self doubt that came from both being in this band and just being a live.

“We’re always in this weird looming feeling of ‘Everything’s falling apart,’ or ‘Everything’s gonna fall apart,’” says Coll. “Some people might say that’s good for the art, but I don’t think it’s that great.” He laughs. “I think I could’ve written the same lyrics without that.”

“We’re a band, and someday we won’t be a band,” Murphy says, reciting Foxing’s unofficial motto. “Dealer felt like it was make or break. If we don’t do something that we can be proud of and other people can be proud of, this is all for nothing and we might as well not be doing it.”

ABOUT HAIL THE SUN: Hail The Sun formed in 2009 in Chico, CA where members Donovan Melero (vocals, drums), Aric Garcia (guitar), John Stirrat (bass), and Shane Gann (guitar) all attended college. The band has since made a name for themselves through relentless touring, explosive performances and consistent creative re-invention and musical innovation. To date the group has released two impressive full-length records and most recently a surprise EP titled Secret Wars.

Hail The Sun has toured and shared stages with the likes of Dance Gavin Dance, Silverstein, Chon, The Fall Of Troy, I the Mighty, A Lot Like Birds, and Polyphia; and has performed at festivals such as South by So What?!, Warped Tour, SXSW, and Never Say Never.