He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of Line & Circle

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 at 9:22 am by and
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It was love at first listen when we first heard Line & Circle’s single “Roman Ruins” back in 2012. They made our top album list without having a record out, they stole our artist spotlight for a bit, and we even chatted them up on musical matters. Fast forward a few years, and it should come as no surprise that when their name finally showed up on our touring radar, we weren’t going to miss these guys on the East Coast. So we decided to see them. Twice, in fact.

Gig Location

Elie: The “Late Show” at Mercury Lounge, 217 East Houston Street

Holly: TT the Bears, Brookline Street, Cambridge, MA

Bevs Consumed

Elie: 2 cans of Pabst, $10 + tip

Holly: One can of Guinness, $6 + tip.

Crowd Vibe

Elie: Mercury Lounge was packed from stage to soundboard. A palpable excitement permeated the room. From our vantage point, the crowd demographic definitely skewed younger. The majority of fans were there in support of headliner Streets of Laredo, but a sizable number arrived early to check out Line & Circle.

Holly: The crowd was thin, maybe a handful of people, but that didn’t stop Line & Circle from playing as if to a full house. Those who made it out to the show were pretty chill, but equally appreciative with applause. To be fair, TT’s is a weird venue, like the people of Cambridge. The band would be better served on a bill at Brighton Music Hall, in these parts.

Opener

Elie: They were. So, being a frequent gig-goer, the words, “I wanna get there for the opener” are not often heard (or uttered). This was the rare occasion when we were there to see the band at the bottom of the bill. Frontman Brian J. Cohen and his jangly Rickenbacker led the LA-based quartet through their budding repetoire of 80s-leaning music. Seriously, sonic elements of the Cure, REM, and the Smiths lend credence to the assertion that Line & Circle could easily score a John Hughes film.

Holly: Born out of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Amy & The Engine warmed up TT’s with their eclectic folk rocking ensemble. There was a bit of lag between songs, without much chatter to the crowd, but the harmoized vocals and doo-woppin’ retro beats provided a captivating pop. The seven-piece really tightened up when spirited lead vocalist Amy Allen picked up her six-string and the rest of the band filled in behind her. They finished their set with a throwback to 1992, covering The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” and wrapped up with a debut single, “I Got You.”

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Expectations

Elie: Ever since “Roman Ruins” was released a couple years ago, these guys have been on repeat. They’ve only just released a three-song EP; a full length is reportedly complete but remains on the shelf for now. Expectations were cautiously high, but Line & Circle delivered.

Holly: It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to see these guys live! Their sound is pretty unique – part Cure, part Smiths, part Toad The Wet Sprocket – so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from their performance. I take that back. I had high expectations on hearing their single, “Roman Ruins.” It’s been in my rotation since it debuted on KEXP. I love it so damn much.

Favorite Part of the Set

Elie: Watching the band dynamic, and catching brief smirks between the musicians.

Holly: Hearing “Roman Ruins.” But it was also really cool to see this up-and-coming band have such a tight set, and fun to hear the nuances they threw into songs that I’ve been listening to for ages. It’s evident the foursome has a dedication to emotional connections, both in their music and performance. Not to mention their mannerisms on stage were so unassuming and comfortable, it seems like they’ve been a band forever. The sound from the floor was crisp, which is surprising for this club, because everyone I’ve seen there ends up sounding like nondescript noise.

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Gripes

Elie: At barely forty-five minutes, the set simply wasn’t long enough. Maybe the next NYC visit will have Line & Circle headlining. They’ll need to polish the whole stage presence thing, though.

Holly: As much as I enjoyed all of their tracks (and I did!), my suspension of disbelief would have included them looping “Roman Ruins” a few (hundred) times. I wish their set had been a little longer; I wanted to start the chant, “one more song!” but in such a skint crowd, I thought “hmm, better not.” Speaking of, I wish the crowd hadn’t wall-flowered so much, but that’s Boston for you.

Best Song Performed

Elie: Listening to the records, “Roman Ruins” definitely wins out. However, in concert, “Mesolithic” really came across as a viable hit single. Between these two songs, Line & Circle possesses what it takes. Time will tell if the public agrees.

Holly: No surprise here – “Roman Ruins,” but also their new track, “Mesolithic” was pretty rad – it has a cool energy, and the chorus is ear candy.

Something You Saw That The Rest of The Crowd Didn’t Notice

Elie: That I ran into my cousin there.

Holly: During the first verse of Amy & the Engine’s cover of “Dreams,” the guys of Line & Circle peered around their dressing room door, listening with amusement at the blast from the past.

Would You See Them Again?

Elie: For sure.

Holly: No question.

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