by Matt Kelchner
After weeks of being out on the road, touring behind their newly released album Descensus, Doylestown’s own Circa Survive arrived back in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania for two shows last weekend. Joining them along the trek were fellow Keystone state natives Title Fight and neighbors to the south Pianos Become The Teeth. We made the trip down to Union Transfer Saturday for the first of these shows to see if any of the bands still had gas in the tank (in more of a figurative sense than literal).
All three bands were playing either in support of recently released albums or have a new one coming out early next year. The common thread of new music wasn’t the only thing that ties the trio together. All three bands worked with the young, up-and-coming local producer Will Yip on each of their albums. Yip has made a name for himself over the last several years as being the goto guy in the punk community and this tour is just another shining example of that.
First up on the night was Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth. After signing to Epitaph Records, they released their third album Keep You in late October. The record features the band moving on from their screamo influenced style that was prominent on the previous two albums. While they played both old and new songs Saturday night, the band stayed true to their new style of play as singer Kyle Durfey toned back on screaming. Pianos Become The Teeth ended their short set with “Hiding”, a song from their 2013 split with Touche Amore and arguably their best song.
While Title Fight continues to push further and further away from their original fast paced, pop punk sound, it has always remaining a part of their core. For most shows, the four guys that make of Kingston, PA’s most well known band typically spend much of their dodging fans as they climb on to then jump off the stage. Mic stands get pushed over and guitar pedals get stepped on but they continue to share the stage. Saturday night was a different case for the band and it was a relief to be able to hear Jamie and Ned’s vocals for each and every song.
Much of the set was made up of cuts from Shed and Floral Green, Title Fight’s two full length albums. The choice of songs like “Secret Society” and “Shed” showed some of the band’s best melodic punk songs. For the longtime fans, they threw in “Symmetry” from 2009’s The Last Thing You Forget EP. Earlier this month Title Fight debuted “Chlorine”, the first song from their new album coming in 2015 titled Hyperview. In the middle of their set, after explaining that there is not much they can share at this point on the new album, Title Fight broke into their new tune. Heavier and slower than what fans usually expect, it only took a bars into the verse for it to start latching on. Title Fight ended their night with another slow burner, “Head In A Ceiling Fan”, as they left their fans with more than a few tastes of what’s in store next year.
Both openers Saturday night could have very well been headliners for the tour. Title Fight has done so before at Union Transfer and Pianos Become The Teeth had a show lined up as part of a short record release, but was quickly canceled afterwards. Each band has a very devoted fanbase. With that said however, it was easy to tell that the crowd came out for Circa Survive. To make the evening even more special, the entire set was being recorded. Upon walking into the stage room at Union Transfer, signs were posted to inform the crowd of the taping.
Every song Anthony Green sang was echoed with hundreds of adoring fans. Early on in the set, Green jumped down into the crowd to get even closer with them. This tour was in support of the band’s recently released album Descensus, but the setlist played out to be more of a career spanning one. There were selections from all five of Circa Survive’s full length albums. Going over the list again, there was a heavier emphasis on the first three albums than the last two.
The night began with “Act Appalled”, a throwback to the 2005 debut Juturana. After that “Sharp Practice” was played, a cut from 2012’s Violent Skies. All through the set Circa Survive teetered back and forth between classics and new songs. Judging from the crowd’s reaction though, you would have thought they were running through a list of greatest hits. “Child of the Desert”, “Only the Sun” and “Schema” were the only Descensus tracks to make it on the setlist Saturday night and while the album was only out for a few weeks, fans already knew every word.
One of these new songs, “Child of the Desert”, ended up being the final song Circa Survive played before walking off the stage. After a loud, thunderous applause from the crowd, Anthony Green and company walked back out for one final number, “Get Out”. Seemingly not having fulfilled his crowdsurfing time, Green hopped back into the seas of cheering, screaming fans again. Covered in sweat, the Doylestown band said their goodbyes as they walked off stage. It was a mighty ending for the lengthy tour they were on, but Circa Survive played like it was the very first one.