MUSIC MONDAYS: Balance & Composure + Chon + Circa Survive + Thrice
PHOTOGRAPHED by ARIEF STARK
REVIEW WRITTEN BY ASHLYNN CAMPBELL
(with contributor Steven Suarez)
Episode 006: Balance & Composure + Chon + Circa Survive + Thrice
Wednesday November 8th served as quite a memorable day for about 1500 Houstonians who were packed into House of Blues like sardines to see some of this decades best alt- rock bands: Balance and Composure, Chon, Circa Survive, and Thrice. If you were there, you know. If not, you’re about to feel the FOMO, and we’re sorry for that…kind of.
BALANCE & COMPOSURE
This band is clearly out to broaden their new and refined yet uninhibited sound. Their most recently released third studio album “Light We Made” has only been out for a year and has made waves in the alt-rock scene for good reason. This album is much more focused than anything we’ve seen from them before. There is no denying they have changed as they move from a sort of post- hardcore/grungy presence to a more moody with a deeper fuller sound. Thankfully, it’s not a total 180 because the familiarity is still there. Whether you’re a long time B&C fan, or right now is your first time hearing about them, listen to the new stuff and listen to it loud. Not because it’s grunge or something to head bang to because it’s not. Do it because the sound will envelop you in the best possible way. It even more amazing to experience it live and fulfilling to still hear some of the older material that we all know and cherish.
Sounds like: Brand New, Title Fight, MeWithoutYou
Oh Chon, where to begin. Admittedly, as I struggled to find the perfect words to describe this instrumental group for you, I got desperate and looked them up on Wikipedia where their genre was described as “math rock”. What is math rock? (Takes deep breath) It’s a style of indie rock that was influenced by post-hardcore and progressive rock bands, and is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords. It bears similarities to post-rock. Long story short, they have a very intricate and sort of contradictory sound. They have somehow mastered the art of being frantic and chill at the same time. Their live value was spectacular as well if you have an appreciation for the mastery of the instruments themselves rather than just being there to see if they jump around on stage.
Sounds like: Fall of Troy, Tera Melos, Strawberry Girls
If there was anything I took away from Circa Survives performance, it was that this band loves what they do and that much was clear as day during the thirteen song set list. Green, who in my opinion has never sounded better on stage, was a force of kinetic energy, never staying in one place for longer than a few seconds. Even moving as frantically as he was, a note was rarely missed. Green nailed songs like fan favorite (and one of the set highlights), “Frozen Creek” with ease. He only ever stopped to turn the mic towards the crowd to let us sing for him. And sing we did.
Circa opened their set with “Rites of investiture”, the heaviest song on the group’s sixth studio album titled “The Amulet”, which kicks things off with a distorted bass intro then blasts into overdrive until the end. “Tunnel vision” (a personal favorite) and “Sharp practice” from the group’s fourth album “Violent waves” were highlights of the night which resulted in the crowd absolutely losing their shit. Circa ended their impassioned set with “Get out” which is arguably their biggest hit to date. Speaking of the crowd, Circa Survive fans are probably the most devoted and enthusiastic I've ever seen. It was on track “The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose” from their sophomore album (and fan favorite) “On Letting go” that the crown was at peak intensity. It was exciting to feel the ground rumbling during the chorus as everyone, including me, jumped in unison.
The band, which is rounded out by guitarists Brendan Ekstrom, and Colin Frangicetto, bassist Nick beard, and drummer Stephen Clifford all executed their respective parts flawlessly while also making explorative use of the stage. It seemed as if Frangicetto played the entire show with his eyes closed as he was lost in the music alongside every one of us. Ekstrom was especially alive during new song “Lustration” as he was thrashing around his guitar and head banging. Beard was holding down tight vocal harmonies with Green and working in rhythm with drummer Clifford. As I’ve mention earlier I’ve never heard this band sound as tight and put together as they do on this tour. Jump on the bandwagon and go check out “The Amulet”. They are already done with Texas cities but once you hear it, maybe you’ll be inclined to make the trip to see them elsewhere.
Sounds like: Tides of Man, Emarosa, Hail the Sun
Lastly, thrice closed out the night by giving every single audience member the sonic blast of post-hardcore nostalgia that is their music. Let’s all just take a moment to recognize that Thrice has been a band since 1998. Holy shit, 19 years is a long time to be kicking ass so it’s no surprise that they’ve been named one of the most influential bands of their genre. Even after a four year hiatus, they managed to push out their ninth studio album which is in my opinion their best work yet; a work that can only come of almost two decades of creating art together. The latest and greatest album is titled “To be everywhere is to be nowhere” and that took up a vast majority of their set last Wednesday night with no complaints from fans.
Only two songs into the performance, the band experienced some technical difficulties which the band had to deal with of stage, leaving singer Dustin Kensrue to entertain the sardines alone. Kensrue began a solo performance of “Stare at the Sun” causing a welcomed tonal shift in the crowd from hyped to relaxed as a soft chanting of the song swept over the venue. Around the beginning of the second chorus was when the rest of the band stepped back in and amped up the mood all over again. The rest of the evening consisted of none other than dedicated fans passionately shouting the lyrics to every song that Thrice threw at them, both new and old. If you haven’t listened to anything off the new album yet, I highly encourage you to wake the hell up and go check out “Black Honey”. Like right now. What are you doing? Go!
Sounds like: Thursday, Emery, Saosin
ABOUT ARIEF STARK
Arief was born in Indonesia and grew up in Singapore. He flew halfway around the world and moved to Houston in 2013. Ever since he got my first camera in 2011 he was in love with capturing moments happening around him.
ABOUT ASHLYNN CAMPBELL
Ash Campbell is a staff writer and project manager for Texas Inked while simultaneously attending college for graphic design. She has interviewed such artists as Eagles of Death Metal, Bishop Briggs, Mod Sun, DREAMERS and many more!