Anthony Green's legacy and prestige as a performer is without a doubt, legit. From the post-hardcore days of Saosin to the brash and experimental Circa Survive, Green's output has been nothing short of prolific. And his vocal style seems to mirror his lyrics, often dream-like and wildly dynamic. His falsetto is unmistakable and his brilliant stage interactions have solidified any of his musical explorations as something worthwhile, almost legendary at this point. After seeing him with his prior outfits I jumped at the chance to see him at The Orpheum.
Secret Space started off the night. They were an appropriate choice, mirroring some of Circa Survive's earlier styles with atmospheric, jangly guitar work with plenty of heart-wrenching vocals sliding into subdued and beauteous harmonies. Their track "Stars" was definitely inspired, with a fuzzy warmth and heady space all its own. Most of all, they put on a hell of a show, there was definitely an enthusiasm there. In a cool moment of humanity where you realize the artist on stage is a person, presumably human like you, he dedicated the last song they played to his mom, who was actually in the audience. Cool stuff.
Mat Kerekes of Citizen was the second artist, and similar to Green himself, has branched out through solo endeavors away from the snarling indie pop that helped fuel Citizen, to slow down a bit and explore softer calmer sounds. And there's a lot of success in pursuing that sound here, at least live there was, all without the expense of reducing the volume and impact of the songs. "Direction" really shined here, sounding even better live than the studio cut did. Kerekes closed the set with some Citizen songs, ones that the audience actually sang along to, showing that tracks like "Sleep" show a particular degree of potency and a bright future for Kerekes and Citizen alike.
Anthony Green's unmistakable presence could be seen throughout the duration of the night as well, watching from the sidelines and even joining in with Kerekes briefly close out a song. He took the stage with the Pixie Queen album font aglow in an array of lights and with a palpable glee jumped straight into “Moon Song”. Which was a great opener, as it's a fantastic introduction to Green's solo style, experimental, but familiar, mature in tone, switching from serene tones to the pit of your stomach screaming on a whim, captivating the audience with every note. He's a natural performer and it shows, always has.
You know the essence of any good live performance is audience participation, well Green has that in spades. Here're some examples:
Green: "Thanks for spending your Saturday night with us. It's still early so later you can wet your whistle and really go crazy."
Audience: "What are you doing later Anthony?"
Green: "Playing some songs of course."
Goes straight into "Babygirl". And that's how you do it, folks. Interestingly enough there was a running gag regarding social media and the internet that started when one of Green's crew (presumably) was live streaming the show. Green interjected after "The internet fucking sucks. I wrote this next song about how the internet sucks." That song was of course "Breaker" which was not written about the internet but was completely amazing as par expected. As I was writing this bit of dialogue down on my phone, I gave pause to think about it being published...on the internet later. Damn, you've had me Green."From What I Understand" was one of the finest tracks off Green's last album, and it was absolutely outstanding live. Which led to a comment after about Green quitting music to start a glamor shot business on Instagram, he claimed the next song was about...Instagram!
You guessed it! It was "Young Legs" which is not about Instagram. Or is it?
It's this sort of coy, deeply charming behavior that Green can get away with it live and if anything only enhances the show helping breakdown those artist/audience barriers. Green's voice blended perfectly with a crisp yet delicate rhythm section and every hymn style chorus had nearly the whole audience behind him. Anthony Green closed out the night with an encore ending with "Devil's Song" with some tremendous audience participation.
He said "Thank you, everyone. It was a cool, weird experience" his words, not mine. Although the sentiment is mutual. Keep Florida weird I guess.
Check out more of Brian Mahar's photos from the show below. Follow Brian Roesler on Twitter and Brian Mahar on Instagram. Stay up on daily live music, new show announcements, the best local music and the latest music news by following @cl_music on Twitter and liking Creative Loafing Tampa Bay on Facebook.