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LIVE: Circles with Illyria, Vespertine Vescada & Breed – Perth, 20 July 2019

| 9 August 2019 | Reply

LIVE: Circles with Illyria, Vespertine Vescada & Breed – Perth, 20 July 2019
Badlands Bar, Perth, Western Australia
Review & Photography by Pete Gardner


Another Saturday night, and I find myself back in the batcave at Badlands, still one of the best gig venues in perth, with a great ambiance and a great PA with a brilliant sound better than most of the smaller venues around the city. A great night of progressive Metal lies ahead. Circles, currently on their national headline tour in support of their magnificent new album, The Last One, are without the regular support for the tour, with City of Souls and Ebony Ivory absent from the play bill, leaving instead room for three excellent local bands.


Openers Breed, take the stage to a small, but appreciative early crowd. Their album, How the Equine Died, is a great listen and I was looking forward to seeing the guys play live. The band looked a little stiff and uncomfortable on the stage as they were crowded out by the covered Circles drum kit which took up most of the small stage, pushing the drummer off into an unilluminated corner. As the poor guy sat alone in the dark doing some excellent work on his kit, singer Alex Coombes, sporting dreads and sunglasses, contrasting the clean cut college boy look of the rest of the band, gave a lively and charismatic performance. Musically the band is excellent, with some very enjoyable guitar work. The venue filled quickly during the set, with the crowd responding enthusiastically to calls for a circle pit, as the band ramped up the heavy with some great drum work from Gene Perrett, totally unfazed by being shoved in the corner.

Vespertine Vescada

With 4 bands on the bill, it wasn’t long before Vespertine Vescada took their turn. For me these guys were the happy surprise of the night as I only had one chance to listen to their Amaranthine Dessert EP before the show, so wasn’t as familiar with their work. Opening the set with Obsidian Limb they produce a loud heavy sound with plenty of texture and melodic breaks. The band were stuck in the same restricted space as Breed, but were much more animated and appeared to be enjoying themselves a lot more. Singer Blake Grey spending most of his time perched on the monitors reaching into the crowd. Vespertine Vescada delivered a great short set, and the band is well worth catching next time they play. Having had the chance for another airing, I can say the EP is well worth a listen, available on all the usual platforms.


Next up Illyria, this was the one band I had been looking forward to most beside Circles themselves. I was really taken their latest offering the Carpathian Summit, having had it on constantly in the car for the last week. An excellent and accomplished prog metal album, reminding me in parts of Trespass era Genesis ( that’s pre Phil Collins, Shane) and early 70’s Mike Oldfield, before exploding with screaming banshee like vocals and blistering guitar work. I was almost surprised to see the lads on stage looking younger than I expected and not the grizzled campaigners I had envisioned from the maturity of the music. (Maybe it’s just me getting old…)


The band were tight and rehearsed, three guitars and bass building a gentle ethereal atmosphere before the storm breaks with Ilija Stajic’s vocals cutting through in a screaming cacophony. After fiddling with his kit for a while due to some sort of equipment failure, one of the trio of guitarist’s suddenly derigged mid song, packed up his gear virtually throwing it off the stage and stormed off to the band room. Equipment failures happen, and audiences know an accept that. Throwing a toddler tantrum in the middle of a big show for your mates does not indicate any form of maturity, I hope for the sake of the band this behavior is not a frequent occurrence. I’m sorry, you are not in Oasis, this shit doesn’t cut it.


In the defense of the rest of the band, Stajic shrugged off his obviously worried look, and declared they would continue with two guitars and a bass. To be honest the loss of the toddler made little difference to the sound and if anything the band were tighter and more focused as they powered through the remainder of their set, hitting a brilliant crescendo with Swan Song from the last album. I really hope these guys get their shit together. They are an excellent band, and may be better off minus one guitar…

NextGEN Gallery


Finally it was time for the main event, and from the first note it was obvious the grown up’s had arrived. The deep rumbling intro of Dream Sequence detonated into a wall of sound so solid you could lean against it. For the next seventy minutes Circles thundered their way through the majority of The Last One album, and a fair offering from their previous work as the crowd enthusiastically headbanged their way through the set. I first saw Circles last year supporting TesseracT on their Australian tour and recognized then immediately as masters of their craft, so had been eagerly anticipating tonight and was far from disappointed. Bassist Drew Patton and guitarist Ted Furuhashi hurled themselves around the stage with growling vocals backing up Ben Rechter’s excellent voice and brilliant guitar solo’s, whilst drummer David Patton beat his skins into submission grinning maniacally, enjoying every minute. Real standouts of the set included Blueprint for a Great Escape and closing out the set with a trilogy of tracks from the new album, finishing with the brilliant Tether, bang on the stroke of the midnight curfew. My only remaining question from the night is why the hell wasn’t this a sellout? Although the room was only half full, the crowd had a brilliant time and circles delivered a set with all the power and energy they could muster. Next time they make the journey west, do yourself a favor and run for a ticket.

Circles set list
Dream Sequence
The Messenger
Another Me
Ground Shift
Blueprints for a Great Escape
The Frontline
Eye Embedded
As it is Above

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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