Upon opening the liner notes of Rx Bandits’ 2001 album, Progress, you are treated to a piece of writing that serves as the perfect commentary on how music is an integral part of our lives. Written in a pre 9/11 world, “Songs not Skyscrapers” by Terrence Schenold examines the creative process and constitutes music as a catalyst of progress.
“Music can provide an opportunity for you to move forward, to surpass the inscrutable complexity of human life for a time, to puncture the complicated layers of the social pantomime and arrive at a sincere reaction of joy or sadness.”
This excerpt captures the essence of the band in an album that ultimately transitioned the band from their third wave ska sound to a sound that transcended genres delving into a darker, heavier tone that explored more technical elements.
Four years later, Circa Survive released their much-anticipated debut album Juturna, an album that touches on concepts of human emotion and memory and is often regarded as being inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. To many of my peers, this album is the epitome of what Schenold stresses. If you were a senior in high school when this album came out, there’s a good possibility that it was the soundtrack to your everyday life. When it came out, Juntura evoked the kinds of feels that enhance anybody’s sense of being. It has engrained itself into the culture of our generation and it’s no surprise that a decade later, it remains a staple of the millennial psyche.
It’s only appropriate that Circa Survive celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their most revered album Wednesday night at Alamo City Music Hall with bands that epitomize the aesthetic of instituting music as a transgression of emotion. Mellowcore emo revivalists Citizen started the show off right leading into a powerful short but sweet set by frequent Anthony Green collaborators Rx Bandits, setting the tone for the main event.
Circa Survive is the rare kind of band that matches technical ability with sentiment and transgresses aspects of shoegaze and intricate guitar riffs into a romanticized progressive pop sound. Their entire performance is tight and profound, leaving no loose ends of sloppiness. Anthony Green’s glass-shattering voice borders on extra terrestrial sound waves and sustains vocal melodies as he expounds aggression without sounding forced or contrived. They play the type of music that you can make out to and/or get punched in the face to; a conglomeration of endearing melodies with aggressive undertones that strike a nerve while enticing your bones.
Green, a modern day renaissance man of the post hardcore/emo scene, comes across as one of the nicest human beings on the planet. His mild mannered voice transitioned in between songs declaring how much he loves playing San Antonio, giving a shout out to The White Rabbit. When the sound malfunctioned and his vocals cut out two songs into their set, he calmly stopped and maintained composure without any hint of frustration. The band restarted without a hitch and tore through Juntura in its entirety. With the drums hugging the back corner of the stage, the entire band hovers around the stage in line with the music, moving along to every beat and every note of the album. The music might be precise and articulated but the energy is raw and instinctual. They are the type of band that leaves everything out on the stage and for an album that means so much to so many people my age, there is nothing more we could ever ask for.