Caspian, Circle Takes the Square throw down a pair of heavy sets at Rickshaw Stop on a weeknight



Photos by Victoria Smith // Written by Emmanuel Castro //

Caspian with Circle Takes the Square //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
October 7th, 2015 //

Music tends to be a reflection of where a musician lives or where they have been.

After Circle Takes the Square’s opening set at Rickshaw Stop last Wednesday night, I get the immediate impression that Savannah, Ga., must be the most brutal, passionate and beautiful place on the planet.

The three-piece, consisting of Drew Speziale (guitar, vocals), Kathleen Coppola Stubelek (bass, vocals) and Caleb Collins (drums, vocals), brought an energy from another dimension. They are craft masters with each song composed, dense in flawless musicianship with every member of the audience attached to each shriek, growl and scream the band spills from its collective heart.

Circle Takes the Square

Circle Takes the Square

With no words decipherable, their howls become another form of instrumentation. Wikipedia tabs them as the reinvention of screamo. Unsigned by choice, Circle Takes the Square describe themselves as “a punk band with reverence for the mystery,” which is accurate, but there’s so much more to them considering they’ve never gone mainstream. Circle Takes the Square has a new album out entitled Decompositions​:​Volume Number One that has been eight years in the making. Physical copies of the nine-track LP have already sold out, but the band is also offering a name-your-own-price digital download option here. So, by the time Circle Takes the Square played their final note of the night, I was convinced Caspian didn’t have a chance.

I was wrong.

The Beverly, Mass., post-rock pioneers, who dwarf the audience with their presence as well as their sound, put on a display of sonic superiority. Their mammoth, all-instrumental songs ushered the audience through oceans, mountains, deserts, colors, tastes and feelings. Each song portrayed a vast dynamic range of emotions that can literally only be compared to the human experience. The five-piece, who hadn’t played SF in over three years after weathering the sudden death of bassist Chris Friedrich in 2013, went through an extended set featuring tracks from all of their releases, including their newest Dust and Disquiet, released last month on Triple Crown Recordings. The set ended at the stroke of midnight with both bands on stage performing an epic, improvised drum solo during “Sycamore” from Caspian’s 2009 studio album Tertia that you can watch here. Needless to say, the show was sold out and packed to the brim.

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