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Russian Circles | Live at TAB


I was on a natural high when the news came that Russian Circles will be holding a gig in Singapore. It was in year 2010 when the post-rock trio – Mike Sullivan, Dave Turncrantz, and Brian Cook –  from Chicago, US, held their first ever gig in our sunny shores and left a lasting impression in the hearts of many fans. Leaving them high and dry for two years now, I can only imagine how ecstatic the fans would be when they learned that Russian Circles will be having a gig on 13th October 2012 at TAB.
I arrived to find that everyone was milling around, cluttered in groups with excitement drawn on their faces while they were making small talks – probably trading those good moments they shared two years ago. I’ve heard and read one too many good reviews on their live performances, and the fact that I’m going to catch them live now for the first time sent pumps of adrenaline surging past me. I stood in a corner eagerly anticipating.
Mike, Dave and Brian didn’t keep us waiting for long. At 8pm, they took the stage with deafening roars coming from the audience – all squeezed to the front of the stage now. Everyone was screaming and cheering away! The lights dimmed and we were ready to start the night with Russian Circles – YEAH!
The trio opened with 309 from their latest album, Empros. It turned out that was just the warming up. What really kick-started the gig was the second set, Harper Lewis. I was hugely impressed by how well the band members were able to complement one another with their instruments. They used an extensive array of effects and loop pedals to build layers of sound which enabled them to replicate what was heard on their recorded material. Somewhere weaved in between the sets were Geneva, Carpe, and Batu. The audience was ignited and burning with passion, bobbing heads in unison could be observed throughout. Adding fuel to it was Youngblood, if there could be anymore climax, this should be it. Mladek marks the closure. The three of them bade farewell and left the stage. I, along with the fans, was in total disbelief at how fast we had arrived at the end of the gig. It certainly didn’t felt like an hour had passed. The fans chanted repeatedly, “One more song! One more song!”
And just like how a father would give in to the desperate cries of his child, the trio reappeared on stage and took their spots. The grateful fans were clapping and screaming at the top of their lungs. They tore down the stage with the encore – Death Rides a Horse – which sums up what could already have been the perfect night.
To say these guys are awesome will be an understatement. They produced music that stays on a level of its own. Russian Circles didn’t need a microphone to speak to the audience; the instruments and the music they rolled out were all that was needed to communicate. Thank you Russian Circles, for making me understand what it means when they say, “Music is an unspoken language.” – You said it best.




Ryan Cheo


*Photographs, courtesy of Aloysius and Rueven / KittyWu Records


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