Anthony Green gets up close and personal at Funk 'N Waffles

Review: The Circa Survive front man teamed up with Good Old War to play for a sell-out crowd Saturday night at Funk 'N Waffles.

Anthony Green surveyed the sold-out Funk ‘N Waffles crowd through his black, thick-framed glasses.

“We knew when we got here it didn’t smell like any other venue,” he said during a lull between songs. “There’s beer, fried waffles and sweat.... This place is amazing.”

It was the venue's intimate setting that brought out the showman in Green, who is the lead singer for the progressive rock band Circa Survive. On Saturday night, he performed as part of a four piece acoustic act with indie-folk trio Good Old War as his backing band.

Photo: Chris Ballard
Anthony Green serenades the crowd with his soaring vocals Saturday night.

The 90-minute set primarily featured material from Green’s solo album, Avalon, but he also played “Seven Years” by Saosin, a band for which he used to sing, and a Good Old War song titled “Coney Island.”

Though it’s a change of pace for the Circa Survive front man, Green said he welcomes playing in smaller venues with a personal atmosphere.

“Just because it's more intimate doesn't mean there’s less energy,” Green said. “There’s the same energy level but it’s easier for me to control it.”

Green kicked off the set with new material written with Good Old War: two bluesy folk-rock songs that built to huge climaxes with Green’s soaring vocals screaming over the top. He then transitioned to his slower, melodic solo material, which emphasized his soft, smooth vocals with just a guitar backing. The crowd sang along with his more recognizable solo material, the voices echoing off the walls of the small venue.

The affable Green and his bandmates thrived in the dark, cozy setting at Funk 'N Waffles. Green was interacting with the audience, improvising lyrics and encouraging crowd participation, all of which gave the concert an accessible feel. Green often paused in the middle of songs to tell stories and jokes or changed lyrics in order to sing directly to an audience member.

 “We do a lot of improvising, which is good in a setting like this because if you screw up, it’s no sweat,” Green said.

The combination of improvisation and musical talent is what set this foursome apart from other acoustic acts. No song exactly mimicked the album version, and the addition of Good Old War behind Green’s distinct vocals infused each song with life and buoyancy.

The members of Good Old War, a Philadelphia-based indie-folk band, sang three-part harmonies to back up Green’s lead vocals, which refined melodies and added depth. Drummer Tim Arnold frequently transformed tempos, shifting from slow ballads to polyrhythmic breakbeats with carefully constructed crescendos, animating the already lively crowd. Green’s cover of the Good Old War song “Coney Island” received a huge ovation.

Green’s performance was preceded by two opening acts: Skye Lee and Arison Cain. Lee, a 16-year-old Pennsylvania-based acoustic singer, demonstrated her distinct Hayley Williams-inspired vocals. Cain, a native of Alexandria Bay, N.Y., played pop-heavy melodies and employed loud-quiet-loud vocal tactics similar to Green’s. Green invited the two onstage in the middle of his set to give his thanks and support, then sang “She Loves Me So” with Cain sharing vocal duties.

Green’s old and new material throughout the set covered a host of influences and genres, including blues, folk, grassroots, indie and rock. The intimate, lively setting of Funk ‘N Waffles gave him a chance to showcase his diverse solo material, an opportunity rarely afforded to him as frontman for Circa Survive.

 “I love the freedom aspect of it,” Green said. “This is just me.”


Anthony Green Funk'n'Waffles

I have seen Anthony Green perform and the writer captions the feeling of it perfectly. Hope to see more Anthony/Circa articles in the future.

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