It was a ramshackle, hot mess, erratic kinda night. Last minute carpool plans, quick scrolls through Facebook to see if anyone was giving up a ticket to the sold out show, and getting just the right buzz before 7pm to prepare myself for a monumental night.
While I love the convenience and location of the downtown Orlando venues, there’s something about good ol’ House of Blues that just draws me into the musical experience. Maybe it’s the adventure getting there, the whimsical adornment of art in which I find something new every time, or the way the building just carries the energy of the thousands of performers who have graced its stage.
What made me excited for this show in particular was the impressive lineup , all multidimensional artists who I’ve either grown up with or grown to love. From the hardcore post-grunge sound of Balance & Composure to the rather lighthearted yet complex Chon, from emo veterans Circa Survive to the heavy and cathartic tone of Thrice. I was ready for it all.
I started listening to Chon last summer, and had the delight of seeing them headline The Homey Tour this past June with other math rock compatriots like Tera Melos and covet. Check out my review of that show here. While that performance at The Beacham opened my eyes to the vastness of their talent, the large venue distracted from the technical intricacies of their set. On the contrary, their crisp, clean, and perfectly discombobulated soundscapes rippled through House of Blues. From beachside tunes like “Can’t Wait” and “Waterslide” to masterful and rhythmically complex offerings like “Fall,” their summertime sounds felt and sounded just right on that chilly October night.
You know a sold out show at House of Blues when you’re in one; Every nook and cranny packed with sweaty fans itching for the best spot. It was a rowdy bunch that night, from stoner misfits with Chon beanies to hardcore Circa fans donning shirts from their 2005 tour. I loved them all.
Next up was Circa Survive, one of my favorites since middle school. I’ve grown up with the group over the years, taking more of a liking to Anthony Green’s solo work recently, which reveals a more mellowed out version of him than we saw tonight. But lets be honest, seeing Green perform in Circa is downright iconic and a show I can finally scratch off my bucket (list) full of emo tears. They transitioned back and forth from old hits like “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is in the Dose” and “In Fear and Faith” to tracks from their latest album The Amulet like “Lustration” and “Tunnel Vision.”
Green’s physical movements alone were nothing short of beautifully neurotic, and coupled with the high-pitched ring of his distinctive voice, it was the quintessential performance I had so eagerly anticipated. His body flung across the stage, microphone swinging like Adam Lazarra circa 2004 (see gif below). Circa revisited every era of their story and took us through the entire spectrum of emotions as we swayed and chanted along, unequivocally captivated.
If four hours of uninterrupted debauchery weren’t enough, Thrice sealed my fate that night—starting with the banger “The Earth Will Shake.” They’re a band who’s been through shit, including a two-year hiatus, and it’s great to see them better than ever with the release of To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere. Nevertheless, their newfound maturity still carries the signature adrenalized, coarse momentum that has kept them shaking crowds since 1998.
Live Review by Ariel Rivera
Photos by Evan Travelstead