Me, looking around at all of the groups of friends who were stoked to be seeing Circa Survive together: Don’t you wish we had a crew?
Henry: Nope. I wish you did.
Tuesday, April 28th marked my 4th time seeing Circa Survive in the span of one year. (The 6th time seeing Anthony Green in general, though, if you count the Sound of Animals Fighting and Saosin.) And it’s too early in the morning for me to attempt and count how many times since 2005. Suffice to say, I really love this band and I was giddy as fuck all day at work because I was going to see them that night.
We went straight to Millvale after Henry picked me up from work and ate at the Grant Bar & Lounge. How have I been going to shows at Mr. Small’s for more than a decade and never eaten here?! And to think we were originally going to eat at the Subway across the street.
This place was everything I love in a dive: First, you have to walk through the bar to get to the dining room so you can take a quick tour of the town’s underbelly. And the walls are faux-stone! It was so Bavarian! I LOVE BAVARIAN.
Old school waitress buzzer!
I can’t really explain why else I liked this joint so much, other than you could tell it hadn’t been renovated since before I was born. I love dark, cave-like restaurants.
Henry had a burger and I had a grilled portabello sandwich with homemade onion rings. The food was fine (my Yelp nemesis gave them a thirty paragraph review all to say that his experience was “fair, a three-star experience, the Thesaurus taught me 92 new words as I was writing this review.” Fuck, I hate that man so badly. Of course, he gave 5 stars to the place in Millvale I originally wanted to try, so now I’m glad we didn’t go there), but it was really the ambiance that made it special for me. (Until the bitch-baby in the booth across from us started acting like an asshole and of course no one cared because she was the granddaughter of one of the waitresses and every single person eating there was a townie and used to it.)
We were about to pay the check when I overheard the old broads in the booth behind us inquire about the desserts, and our waitress started bragging about the coconut cream pie. THAT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIES. But it’s really easy to get a shitty piece. They ended up ordering it and when I saw that the topping was whipped cream and not meringue (a thousands fist-shakes in the face of meringue), I had to order a piece ASAP.
And I shouldn’t have, because my stomach was already emitting a series of beeps and shocks to remind me that it was over capacity.
COCONUT CREAM pie.
It was the best damn coconut cream pie I have ever had, and I felt so strongly about this that I wrote a “Dear Grant’s Bar” love letter on the back on the check. (Henry was just happy that it was a positive ode for once, and not one of my infamous THIS PLACE SUCKS I HOPE YOU DIE death threats that I may have been known to scrawl from time to time before dashing out the door.)
However, those last forkfuls of food (what would my Yelp nemesis have used here? Vittles? Sustenance? Something Arabic?) really sent my digestive system into overdrive. I thought I would feel better once we walked to Mr. Small’s afterward, because walking off a meal typically helps me, but no. I spent the rest of the night in deep regret. And by regret I mean that I reached a point where I couldn’t even stand up straight. And of course it was a sold out show, and the balcony area was VIP-only that night.
We ended up all of the way in the front row, but over the side, so I could lean against the stage all night. And lean I did. At some points, I was also sagged and half-collapsed across it, too. The pain was real and just kept getting worse.
The opening band was CHON. I knew that Henry wouldn’t like them. I whispered, “FYI, they don’t sing” when we were waiting for them to come out. Henry HATES that. But I have been following them on Facebook for a few years and was excited to finally see them. I heard a girl nearby ask the guy next to her if they were the same style as Circa Survive. The guy and I both laughed at the same time, and he said, “Uh, no. Not at all.”
I’m sorry, Henry, but they were pretty sick to watch and I felt like they were channeling Chuck Mangione at times. I don’t listen to this style of music very often, but it served as a nice reminder that vocals aren’t always necessary to feel something, and I am definitely guilty of focusing too much on the singing sometimes.
Balance and Composure was next and I have to be honest here: seeing that they were on this tour made me even more excited about it because I have liked them for years yet have somehow never seen them live!
I have also never really paid attention to what they look like, so I was in for a shock when they took the stage because Jon, the singer, looked so much like my co-worker A-ron that I started to wig out a little bit. I kept taking pictures to send to all of my work friends, and the next day 98% of them were like, “Holy shit, are we sure it’s not really A-ron?!” except for TODD who said that it only kind of looked like him, and JEANNIE who frowned and said “not at all” and that it just looked like “an average guy with brown hair.”
“If everyone else said it didn’t look like him, you would say it did,” I said to Jeannie in a huff, which just made her laugh BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! She enjoys being the voice of dissent. But whatever, because when I saw A-ron that day, I said to him, “I’m surprised you’re here today after your big show last night” and then I showed him the picture and A-RON HIMSELF WAS LIKE OMG. But showing him turned out to be a mistake because it totally went to his head and then he kept making air-guitar motions and that was just weird.
Anyway, seeing Balance and Composure was worth the wait. I loved it, even though my stomach was like, “NOW can we go home??”
“Remember that coconut cream pie?” I dreamily said to Henry after CHON, punctuating it with a tiny burp.
“It wasn’t that great,” he mumbled.
Somewhere in between CHON and B&C, the super normal, inoffensive and unassuming girl who was next to me moved to a different spot and before I had the chance to move over into her vacated space, the grossest couple usurped it from me. The girl was about 5 feet tall and had SCENE HAIR. I haven’t seen SCENE HAIR since 2009. It was big and teased and so close to my face that I fixated on ripping out the bobby pins all night. And she stunk, you guys. Like Love’s Baby Soft and filth.
Now I’m picturing her trying to visit someone in jail with all of those bobby pins in her gross hair.
Her boyfriend was this big fucking Jersey Shore gorilla juice head who was wearing a TIGHT DRESS SHIRT.
You know how sometimes you just can’t help it, but you hate someone on sight? These were two people who did not have to give you any more of a reason to hate them other than just existing. AND THEY KEPT LOVINGLY GIVING EACH OTHER PECKS ON THE LIPS as if I wasn’t already having a hard time holding back my bile. I was having vivid hallucinations of yanking the rat’s nest off her head, I just couldn’t stand her. And during B&C, she spotted Anthony Green and squealed to her boyfriend and then jumped up and down and clapped her tiny little scene-fairy hands and I was like OH HOW FUCKING SWEET. YES I’M SURE YOU HAVE A SHOT WITH ANTHONY GREEN.
Then Gorilla Juice Head left her to stand ALL ALONE while he went and purchased practically one of everything from the merch booth for her, which she then kept in a pile on the side-stage area in front of her, and I swear to god she kept looking at me over her shoulder and then sliding her t-shirts closer to her, like yeah bitch, I’m going to steal your XS shirts. I just hated the way she kept looking at me, like I didn’t belong there, and I know it’s awful and I shouldn’t care, but it made me feel really uncomfortable (like I wasn’t already thanks to Grant’s Bar) and I started to feel like everyone was staring at me and that maybe I really didn’t belong there, and I haven’t had such low self-esteem issues like that at a show in a REALLY LONG TIME.
I would have just moved somewhere else, but I really needed to stay where I was because leaning against that stage was like a literal crutch for me, that’s how bad my stomach hurt. It was a sold-out show, and there was quite honestly no better place for me to go, other than home. And I wasn’t leaving without seeing Circa Survive.
WOW JUST WOW HENRY.
Also, I felt disoriented because I swear every time we go to Mr. Small’s, something in there has changed. They’re constantly working on additions, which is great, but it’s made it seem very unfamiliar to me. I felt like a stranger in a place that used to be home.
And this is why this ended up being the worst Circa Survive show I’ve ever gone to. And it’s nothing against the band at all, because they were such amaze much wow as usual. I just could barely enjoy it.
They played all of my faves from Juturna. That album never gets old.
I felt like I was floating out of my body at one point. The pain, so real. Call an ambulance. And Henry kept getting pushed into me and every time I felt his belly pressing into my back I wanted to fucking murder him. I kept turning around to glare at him and he hissed, “What do you want me to do? Do you SEE all of the people in here?!” Ugh, I just didn’t want to be touched! It was terrible! Anthony’s antics were only making it slightly more tolerable, but I admittedly kept praying, “Please let this be the last song” 20 minutes into their set. It was hard enough standing there in physical pain, but the vibe from the crowd exacerbated my discomfort. Even Henry was like, “There were a lot of assholes there that night.” And Henry’s threshold for assholes is much greater than mine.
I was really looking forward to this show. I woke up with that excited thrill in my belly and spent all day at work bouncing in my seat, counting down the minutes. But, I guess they can’t all be wins, right? This show ranks at the bottom, with the 2005 Grog Shop show and last December’s Philly show with Terri tying for first place. That December hometown show was just so right on so many levels.
It took more than two days for my stomach to make up with me. I don’t know what the hell Grant’s did to me, other than my stomach just being overly sensitive to greasy food these days. That’s one way to keep the weight off!
Today, while following Chooch around on a bike trail, I asked Henry some questions about his billionth Circa Survive experience. Here are his scintillating* answers:
*(I did not consult a Thesaurus on that, thx.)
What did you think of CHON?
*gives me a ‘don’t be stupid’ look*
Did you like Balance and Composure?
Ehhhhhhhh. Not really.
If you could use your beard to smuggle anything into a concert, what would it be?
I don’t know. I wouldn’t. Why do I need to smuggle anything in? I just want to get out.
Do you like old or new Circa Survive songs best?
I don’t know the difference. *mumbles: I can’t believe I’m answering these*
What was the highlight for you? You’re sleeping!!
I’m not sleeping, I’m thinking! I don’t know. Two girls fighting at the end.
Off the top of your head, name three bands that you dislike seeing even more than Circa Survive.
Whatever that first band was. Crone? Cron?
If Anthony Green started a line of barbeque sauces, how tempted would you be to try them?
That’s a weird question. I would try them, but only because it’s barbecue sauce.
I would pour some on my Anthony Greenbeans and dip my Circa Surfries in it. How does it make you feel when Anthony spreads his mouth open with his hands?
Does it bring back prepubescent memories of sexual confusion?
*sleeping for real*
(I don’t think he understood the question.)