On Sept. 2, 2016, on a night when most of the city is either out at Burning Man, or recovering from the Kill Switch Engage show the night before, it was impressive to see that Russian Circles, easily one of the best post-metal groups touring, still had sold out the iconic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA.
On tour with support from Cloakroom, Russian Circles put together a 2.5-hour package of mind-altering sonic fury. With a show time of 9pm, and a packed house long before that, Cloakroom was able to lull the crowd into a false sense of stability with their impressive instrumentals and melancholic vocals. Even Russian Circles sat along the stage to watch their brothers in arms perform.
Once Cloakroom finished up and cleared the stage, it was almost time for Russian Circles, but even after completing their tuning and sound checks, the three-piece from Chicago took another 15-20 minutes before starting the show. Word around the soundboard crew was there were some electrical issues, but once the clock hit 10:30 none of that mattered.
Starting the night off slowly, with “Asa” from their just-released sixth studio album Guidance, Russian Circles built up the crowd’s anticipation with long notes and ethereal guitar tones. As the drums started building and “Asa” flowed into “Vorel,” everything came to a climax. As soon as the guitars crushed down and Dave Turncrantz turned up the speed on the drums, the entire audience went from mild-mannered Bruce Banner to his monstrously angry green friend.
The first 10 minutes of Russian Circles would set the tone and pace for the rest of the evening, as the band would seamlessly slip back and forth between mellow rhythms and explosive breakdowns. Pulling from their last 10 years of music, Russian Circles took the sold-out San Francisco crowd on a journey through time and space, and at the end, only those with the strongest will were left standing.
Russian Circles will be on tour throughout the first week of October before heading overseas to Europe.
Review by Derek Tobias via axs