On July 12th, 2005, I was in the car with Henry on the way home from Cleveland, crying because I had just met Anthony Green of Circa Survive. I didn’t know how to tell him how much his band meant to me, and how it had helped to calm down the madness in my head, so instead I mumbled, “You guys were great tonight, will you sign my CD.” So goddamn lame.
I still remember that I was wearing my brother Ryan’s old blue soccer t-shirt that had the name of my Pappap’s drywall company on it. It’s weird what we remember during moments of emotional agony. Oh, haha.
I met a guy at that night at the Grog Shop who told me that Anthony actually gave him his phone number after the guy told him he was suicidal. “I called him one night and he talked me through it,” he told me. “He saved my life.” And if it weren’t for that guy taking me over to meet Anthony after the show that night, I probably would be telling you the story about how I’ve loved Circa Survive since 2005 but have never met Anthony Green.
2005 was a shit year for me: mentally, emotionally, and financially. That May, I experienced what I still to this day believe was a nervous breakdown. Things were just bad. I had nagging thoughts of driving my car off the road. I would go so psycho on Henry that I wouldn’t be surprised if he considered calling in a priest at some point. I actually called a church at one point to seek help, because I didn’t have health insurance and had no idea where else to turn. Janna even had to come and babysit one day after I bit myself, so be thankful if we weren’t friends in 2005, I guess.
But one of the shining points for me, as always, was music. Circa Survive’s debut album, Juturna, came out that June. I had been eagerly awaiting it, after having already been a fan of Saosin, the band that Anthony left to start Circa Survive.
Something about Anthony’s unconventional voice over top the most beautiful music that I had heard in quite some time just really did it for me. It sounded different from everything else that I was listening to back then. It was obsession, and I drove Henry crazy with it, making mix CDs of every single bootleg demo, live recording, B-side I could find of Saosin, Circa Survive, and Anthony’s solo work. It was the Year of Anthony Green and Henry wanted to slit his throat.
That music calmed me down. It helped me think straight. I would take it to the cemetery with me and cry, but they were good tears. And, after three months of not writing due to my nervous breakdown thing, I decided to start writing again.
Juturna reminds me of the beginning of my pregnancy. (Because, yes, let’s cap off one of the most tumultuous, bipolar summers of my life by having a planned pregnancy. Good old inpulsives.) Being so excited to have this child and play “Great Golden Baby” for him. That was my favorite Circa song for a really long time. There are still times when, out of the blue, I hear the line “This changes everything” in my head. If I’ve ever made you a mix CD anytime after 2005, there is a really good chance that there is at least one Circa Survive song on it. I wanted everyone to know them and to love them.
I know, I seem so melodramatic when it comes to this stuff, but this is Truth. This is honestly how I experience music. And I cry every time I write these blog posts, haha!
When Henry and I went to see The Sound of Animals Fighting last March in Philly, that was the first time I had seen Anthony since 2008. I still liked Circa Survive, and I kept up with all their subsequent releases, but if I’m being honest, none of their other albums ever fisted my heart the way Juturna had. But when I saw they were coming to Pittsburgh in July, something inside me said, “You need to go see them again.” So I bought a ticket without hesitating. This show was announced back when I still had my old evening shift at work, and normally I would always ask to work half-day or just take the whole day off before even buying the ticket, but this time, I was like, “I don’t care, I’ll deal with that part later.” Because this was important to me. I’ve been trying to find ways to let go of my 20s, because that was a really bad decade for me, for the most part. And I thought, maybe seeing them again after all this time will help me heal.
It just felt like more than just going to a show. It was something I needed.
Originally, I was going to go alone, but then Henry ended up going with me too because I panicked and didn’t want to be alone. I knew that I was going to cry and I didn’t want to be That Person standing alone and sobbing. So Henry went too and held my hand through most of it. And thank god for that because I felt like my heart was exploding from the moment Circa walked on stage all the way up to when we were in the car leaving.
The opening band was Ume, by the way, and if you love female-fronted bands that are actually fantastic, I suggest that you check them out. It was like the 90s all over again, in a good way. And then while we were waiting for Circa, I noticed a guy standing in front of me, and because I’m obsessed with the Dupree family (please see: Eisley), I thought to myself, “That looks like the back of Garron Dupree’s head.” And then I looked to the left and thought, “Huh. That looks like Reed Murray. And that looks like Fred Maraschino.” And it turned out it WAS all of them, because they’re all currently in the band Say Anything, who was actually in town the night before, playing at the same venue. So I had a total fangirl moment and thank god Henry was there because he actually knows all of these names by default so I was able to squeal about it and have him understand what was going on.
Interestingly, Say Anything was supposed to be the headliner when I saw Circa Survive for the first time in 2005, but they dropped off the tour after their singer Max Bemis had a mental breakdown. (I can relate.) So it was kind of like this surreal full circle moment for me, knowing that Say Anything was there at Mr. Small’s that night, watching. It’s so awesome when bands support each other.
Then Henry pointed out that Anthony Green had walked right past me during Ume’s set but as usual, I had no idea. This happened like 57 times in Philly too. It’s hilarious to me that Henry, Mr. I Don’t Give a Shit About These Bands, is always the first one to spot band members.
I don’t really know what words can do justice to the show itself, other than saying it was like a religious experience for me. Anthony Green is one of the great voices of my generation, and it always feels like an honor to be in his presence. And unlike Jonny Craig, he is a NICE GUY. Here’s a singer who kicked an addition, married a great girl and made two beautiful sons. He’s an inspiration, and an example that some singers can be charismatic without also having God complexes.
(Ahem, Craig Owens.)
All Anthony has to do is whisper “Come” into the mic while making a beckoning motion with his hands, and the room literally lurches toward the stage like a horde of Palestinians throwing themselves at Jesus’s feet.
I used to try to hold back tears at concerts, but then I finally realized that it feels so much better to just let it go. So…my face was pretty wet that night.
^^^This song. Me = gutted. The “Don’t stop talking to me, I haven’t been listening” part used to be what I used for my mom’s ringtone. You know, back when I had her number in my phone. When they played that part last week, my legs turned to Jello.
They played for about 2 hours and totally satisfied my Juturna cravings. It was the perfect set list, the perfect night, and the perfect way to say goodbye to the ghosts of 2005.
I love this fucking band so much.