Gig Review: Circles + Supports, 1 April 2016, Melbourne

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Circles + Orsome Welles + Teramaze
The Worker’s Club, Melbourne
1 April 2016
Review by Rod Whitfield

It’s amazing what a different experience you can have watching the same band at two venues just ten-minutes’ walk from each other. It’s all about the size of the room, the shape of the room, the acoustics of the room, where you were standing, and so on. I saw long running Geelong/Melbourne band Teramaze a couple of months ago at the Evelyn Hotel, supporting Leprous and Voyager. I enjoyed their set significantly more at the Worker’s than at the Evelyn. Their sound was superior at The Worker’s, with their strongest features as a band, their soaring vocals and harmonies and lead guitar work, stronger and more prominent. The drums had more presence as well.

There were less tangible reasons for it too, the band themselves seemed just a touch more relaxed playing at the smaller, more intimate venue with local bands than at the bigger venue with a big international. They were thus a little more animated and appeared to be having more fun on stage.

Teramaze straddle that fine line between power and prog metal, and they do it extremely well. But their awesome closing track is pure soaring progressive power and passion, a ten-minute show-stopper. These guys got the strongly building crowd nicely pumped.

I was talking to a fellow Aussie HEAVY music loving fan on the changeover between the first two bands, and we agreed that good diversity on a bill is better than three or four bands of a very similar ilk. And diversity was the name of the game this night. From the majestic prog of Teramaze, next up was the ultra-quirky alternative rock of Orsome Welles. They are certainly idiosyncratic, but they know how to rock the f*ck out at the same time.

It’s fantastic to see, and indeed critically review, a band a number of times over the course of a couple of years, and trace their growth and development over that time, before your very eyes and ears. The very first time I saw these guys, I felt just a smidgeon underwhelmed. However, they gotten better every time I’ve seen them, and on this night they were absolutely on fire. Their left of centre songs and delivery aren’t so obscure that they will only be enjoyed by a select few who ‘get it’. Their tunes and live presentation can be enjoyed on many levels. And the pumped up crowd certainly did this night.

Further variety was provided by the awesome headliners Circles. These guys have been off the scene for quite some time after conquering all before them with the release of their EP, The Compass, in 2011 and their debut album, Infinitas, two years later. They have been writing and recording the follow-up to the latter, and they have also had a change of guitarist in the last six months or so. They exploded back onto the live scene this night however, and it was a beautiful and magical thing. Despite some bass related and other sound issues on the night.

Their set was an excellent cross-section of tunes from the album, the EP and a very tasteful two brand new songs, one of which, Sand and Wind, was released to the public in the last few weeks. Both new tracks were melodic, muscular and hint at a subtle but definite change of direction for the band on their next release. Both received extremely good responses as well.

New guitarist and backing vocalist Ben Rechter handled his duties in his debut show with ease and confidence. He is a real talent, as shown by his work in Glass Empire and New Travellers, and I’d love to see him given more prominence in the band’s sound as things progress.

Great to have you back, Circles, you are most welcome.

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