Drew Speziale of Circle Takes the Square performs at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.

Drew Speziale of Circle Takes the Square performs at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.Reid Haithcock for NPRhide caption

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Reid Haithcock for NPR

Live in Concert

Circle Takes The Square Live In Concert

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by Lars Gotrich

When Circle Takes the Square announced earlier this year that it would record its first new material in seven years, post-hardcore fans, for lack of a better term, flipped out. But when the influential post-hardcore band also announced that its first show in three years would be at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. — with its like-minded compatriots in pg. 99, no less — a collective fanboy-ish squeal sounded across the Internet.

A sold-out crowd endured a torrential downpour and heavy winds by way of Hurricane Irene on August 27, but — ever determined and soaking wet — ecstatic fans screamed along to every song once inside, even the new ones from the Rites of Initiation EP that came out last week. The thing that struck me, though, in all the twisting time signatures, start-stop dynamics, overlapping screams and metallic chaos, was how "now" it all still sounded. In a carefully considered set list culled from the band's small yet strong discography, this was the embodiment of impassioned renewal. Just listen to the crowd practically climb over itself to scream the words to "In the Nervous Light of Sunday" when the band drops out. It's a rallying call.

Set List

"Our Need to Bleed"
"A Crater to Cough In"
"In the Nervous Light of Sunday"
"Enter by the Narrow Gates"
"Spirit Narrative"
"Crowquill"
"We're Sustained by the Corpse of a Fallen Constellation"
"Non-Objective Portrait of Karma"
"A Disclaimer to the Self"

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