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Concert review: Circa Survive thrives In The Venue

Photo and review by Max Parker Dahl

SALT LAKE CITY—Circa Survive—with guests dredg, Animals As Leaders, and Codeseven—played In The Venue to a packed crowd Friday night.

“These are our favorite bands,” Circa Survive bassist Nick Beard said. “Because we are headlining we can take who we want, not necessarily bands who would sell tickets.”

Energy ran high and intensified as Animals As Leaders opened with fast and heavy melodies. The crowd was incredulous to discover a band without a lyricist, but was quickly won over by the unbelievable musicianship. It was the appropriate mixture of garage band and orchestrated soundtrack.

“It’s like I can hear lyrics in my head,” Stephanie Johnston, an attendee, said. “I like that I am a part of the creation process; they aren’t telling me what to think with their vocals, but I get a clear picture of what they’re trying to say.”

Codeseven’s set was more sedate and contemplative, and seemed to be the bridge between the extreme differences in styles chosen for the evening. Uniformly their songs had aimless, haunting lyrics with predictable and clean instrumental backing. The masses seemed unsure how to respond to the new dynamic of Codeseven.

dredg took the stage to awaken an appreciation in a young crowd. Although many did not know lyrics, the music was warmly received. Songs spanning their career, including one off their new album to drop in March, were flawlessly presented. With continued performances like that, dredg will gain momentum in finding a loyal fan base in Utah.

“We do really well before and after the show, but most sales come after the set,” said Peter Scmidt, who mans the dredg merchandise table. “Once people hear dredg play, they buy their albums and other merch.”

The crowd erupted when Circa Survive took the stage, and maintained frenzied energy for the hour set. Cannons blasted confetti at the beginning, middle and conclusion of the show, and front-man Anthony Green entertained by snatching pieces from the air and eating them. Hits from their recent release, Blue Sky Noise, were interspersed with older favorites, and the throng didn’t miss a beat or a single word.

Circa Survive added a personal touch by organizing a raffle for the young family of Jordan Byrd; an Army combat medic who was killed in Afghanistan while assisting a fellow soldier. To generate money, raffle tickets were sold, rewarding the winner with all Circa Survive merchandise available.

Green took a few minutes before the encore to personally apologize to Byrd’s widow backstage. “I’m so sorry for your loss. I have a 1-month-old, it would be incredibly hard to do that alone … But I know everything will work out” he said before returning to a rapacious house.

“You’ve made this an incredible night. This is the best show we’ve ever played in Salt Lake,” Green said. “I hope you enjoyed what you heard; it’s fantastic stuff. Go back and pick up something new.”

NW