“A deep well of musical wonderment is laid before you to drink from at will…”
That’s what I said about Circuline’s sophomore release ‘Counterpoint’ and this highly impressive progressive rock act went on to enhance that with what was by all accounts an outstanding performance at the 13th International Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest). Captured live, this 2016 show has been released as the live DVD/CD, Blu-Ray/CD or just good old plain CD – ‘Circuline – Circulive: :Majestik’.
“What do you get when you take two theatrical lead vocalists, a keyboard player from Juilliard, a jazz-rock genius on guitar, a bass player from Monster Island and a drummer with progressive rock in his DNA? The modern cinematic ProgRock band Circuline.”
That’s the band’s tagline and describes them band down to a tee, for the RoSfest performance regular members Andrew Colyer (keyboards), Natalie Brown and Billy Spillane (those two ‘theatrical’ vocalists) and Darin Brannon (drums) were joined by new guitarist Beledo, guest bassist Harold Skeete and special guest Joe Deninzon on electric violin.
The setlist is taken majorly from ‘Counterpoint’ and opens with (DVD only) a subtly building version of New Day before particularly dramatic and powerful performances of Who I Am and Return. These dynamic tracks are followed by a bombastically brilliant version of personal fave Forbidden Planet, a performance that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.
The well shot DVD draws you in and makes you feel as if you are part of the whole experience, you feel every riff from Beledo’s expressive guitar work and the energy that Skeete puts into his bass playing. The two lead vocalists are at their theatrical and melodramatic best, the harmonies seemingly soaring to the heights of The Majestic’s roof.
They expertly run through the ten minute brilliance of Hollow, Stereotypes and an especially vibrant version of Inception, including some seriously tasty guitar work. You can see why the performance was received enthusiastically, Skeete’s bass playing on America the Beautiful and Nautilus really gives added impetus and ‘snazz’ to the music and Colyer’s keyboards almost seem to have a life of their own as they drive everything on, all the musicians work together perfectly and seemlessly to deliver a polished and involving set.
Sat with my feet up watching the DVD at home gets me really absorbed in this spellbinding show, it’s not just a concert, it really is like going to the theatre to watch a musical extravaganza and Circuline really deliver that to the rapt audience. A mesmeric version of One Wish leads into a fantastic trio of closing tracks, the spellbinding Summit, a heartfelt rendition of Stay (Brown and Spillane virtually raise the roof on this one!) and this quite enthralling experience is brought to a close with the jazz/prog rock fusion inventiveness of Silence Revealed where Beledo is quite spectacularly let off the leash.
As live albums go this one has to be right up there with some of the recent best. Having excellent songs is a good start but to be able to translate those tracks into the live arena this well takes some real skill and Circuline have that in spades.
Released 18th May 2018