Live Review: Circles

22 August 2022 | 11:42 am | Rod Whitfield

"A passion that is real and raw and hits you right in the feels."

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A couple of members of Melbourne alt rock five piece Future Static are ill this evening, so guitarist Ryan Qualizza and vocalist Amariah Cook play an impromptu acoustic duo set for the ever-growing throng of Stay Gold punters. The pair apparently had just two days to prepare for this, but you wouldn’t know it. They belt out a thirty-minute-plus set of their original tunes with the same passion they would have were it a loud and electrified gig, Cook’s raw and exposed voice alternately soaring to the heavens and dropping to breathy lows. Her harmonising with Qualizza is spot on and she even jumps into the crowd for a spontaneous flamenco dance late in the set.

Our best wishes to the members who are under the weather. Sometimes positivity can come out of adversity, and it feels like we are being treated to something quite special tonight, something that may not be repeated for a while. This is an unexpected but joyous opening to this fabulous evening of independent Aussie music.

Time to get loud as Adelaide’s Heartline hits the stage. This band transforms what could have been a fairly garden-variety metalcore sound into something quite different. The influence of a band like Type O Negative can be detected in their grandiose, gothy take, their synthy washy backing adding colour and dark atmosphere to the sound. However, the clean vocals land just slightly flat at times. Maybe a little work to be done here before this band is ready for the big time. Overall, however, Heartline put on a simultaneously dark, moody and fiery show that works a real treat.

As these dynamic local bills so often do, the night takes a sharp turn to the left without any loss of interest or momentum, and the bottom end gets wound way up high. The bass-gasmic sounds of The Omnific never cease to entice, excite and amaze. Tonight they also have a member who is indisposed for the evening. This could be a catastrophe for a band of this nature, especially since it’s one of the two bassists who is absent, but the replacement fills in admirably and seamlessly, and we in the crowd would scarcely have known. Their intricate lines and rhythms are delivered with the same precision and abandon as they always are with this band.

The bass guitars pop and slap, grind and pump, and drums slam down the grooves for 30 minutes while the punters stand in awe of the five-string and percussive wizardry on display once again. The legend of this most unique of bands grows with every set they play, and we are lucky to have them to our own here in Melbourne.

It’s been three years. Three long, COVID-effected years since Circles played a hometown show, and it’s wonderful to have them back. In a way, they’ve been badly missed, and in another way, it’s like they’ve never been away from the live scene, such is the power and familiarity of their show.

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Indeed, they set aside a good chunk of tonight’s 60-minute set for their older stuff, the debut EP and album, which goes down a treat. On the flip side of that coin, they also treat us to two brand new tunes, their recently released latest single Sleepwalking, and another new track entitled Bliss, from their forthcoming album, both of which sound immensely promising. And of course, there’s always room for a couple from their last album, The Last One, the only disappointment with the setlist being that it didn’t include the mighty Tether.

The amount of individual talent in this band is astonishing, however, their overall presentation still manages to be greater than the sum of its parts. Their music soars as much as it djents, the vocals and harmonies, delivered by the three members across the front of the stage, are absolutely on the money, and it is all delivered with a tightness and precision that only comes from being together for well over a decade, and with a passion that is real and raw and hits you right in the feels.

While it is a cold and wet late-winter Melbourne evening, the crowd members file back out into the night with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, content in having witnessed another spanking night of Aussie rock music played live and loud.