Circa Survive, Foxy Shazam thrash The Slowdown

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By Kristen Brandt, Assistant Art Director

“If Foxy Shazam was an animal at the zoo, well it’d be the lion that would bite your head off without even thinkin’ about it!” These were the first words lead singer, Eric Nally, used to describe the wild ride we were about to go on this past Wednesday at The Slowdown.

The crowd was skeptical, as you can expect watching any opening band, but Foxy Shazam did not disappoint. Their sound is a little like Queen with a bit of an edge and a whole lot of character. They’re made up of lead and bass guitar, keyboard, drums and a trumpet. It was a different sound and the crowd got into it fairly quickly. I heard one audience member describe them as “if 80’s glam rock and a crazy ska band got together and made a baby,” that would be what we were hearing.

This band went all out, throwing everything they had into their performance. The bass player, Daisy, balanced his bass on two fingers while keyboardist, Sky White, threw his entire body onto the keys, almost tipping over into the crowd. Nally bounced all over the stage, doing somersaults and climbing on things. There was so much going on musically and visually it was hard to keep track of everything.

Nally would stop between songs and share a crazy story and really seemed to connect with the audience. He introduced “Bombs Away” as the song he wrote when he was trapped in a laundry basket for 10 hours as a four year old. The energy kept going strong and the best was yet to come.

Before the last song, Nally asked the audience for a cigarette and lighter. The crowd threw him two cigarettes and he lit them nonchalantly and the band started playing. Nally climbed on top of his lead guitarist’s, Loren Turner’s, head and started gyrating back and forth.  Shortly after, he proceeded to eat both of the cigarettes, which were still lit. While this was happening, the song began to hit the climax and the trumpet player was on all fours humping the floor, and soon enough his pants ripped off. You can’t make this stuff up.

Just when you thought you had seen the finale, all band members came to the front of the stage to sing a little barbershop a cappella. Some of the crowd was not impressed by their crazy stunts, but the majority was eating it up and I loved it. Foxy Shazam had put on quite a show and the night was not yet over. Circa Survive was up next and I wasn’t completely familiar with their music, but I had heard their songs every once in awhile when it would pop up on friends ipods. Based off of what I’d heard, I was expecting a mellower vibe, at least compared to what I had just witnessed, but front man, Allan Green, started the show by singing “Glass Arrows” in the crowd, so the audience was more than pumped.

Circa Survive has been around since 2004, so they drew in a variety of different people of all ages. They have an experimental indie-rock kind of sound going for them. Most of the songs played were upbeat and kept the crowd jumping around. Maybe I stood too close to the stage, but Green’s voice was often times fading in and out under the music, which was disappointing because his voice is one thing that makes the band so different. He was also all over the place and in the crowd, so I’m sure that had something to do with it.

Instrumentally, the band killed it. The drums and guitar all melted together into a great sound and I was surprised how different I felt about their music after seeing the show.  My favorite song they played was “I Felt Free,” because I was familiar with it and it was so much more intense seeing it live.

Green would throw his hands towards the audience, almost throwing the sound out to us and really connected the music to the crowd. They were a crowd favorite and had everyone’s attention. The night was a success and both bands did a great job.

Both of the bands are finishing the rest of the tour on the east coast with headliner Anberlin until Jan. 30.

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