Seeing InCirclesIssue: Section:
The kind of work that I am lucky enough to make a modest living at enables me to see hundreds of musical acts a year. From legends on their pension tours to YouTube sensations riding their 15 minutes of fame, from corporate sellouts to grassroots greats. Every once in a while, in this sea of talent, an act surprises and delights. Recently I had the good fortune of site coordinating the Make Music NYC event Punk Island. 100 punk bands playing on a pier in Staten Island under the blazing summer sun. There were more tattoos per square foot than at a Harley Davidson hot tub party and a surprisingly broad spectrum of acts within the genre. There were power punk, swing punk, acoustic snarl, death rock and pop punk bands made up of all shapes, sizes, genders and races. There was even a transgendered stage highlighting a new milieu to me, transcore. But at the end of the pier, playing to a handful of fans largely made up of members of other bands that had performed that day, was the belle of the ball. I heard one note and was transfixed, chills up and down my exhausted spine. I turned to the gentleman videoing the show and asked who they were and he replied beamingly, "That's my daughter! They're called InCircles." The chills didn't stop for their 40 minute set.
Punk has always been a tricky one for me. I've been seduced by the raw aggression and passion that is at its core and yet its lack of melody, in the vocals particularly, fails to get me in bed. InCircles touched all the right places. Driving grooves, strong melody, sawing guitars and a singer like Chrissie Hynde and Kurt Cobain's love child. Heartfelt, desperate songs mixed with humor and sexual tension. Right now they seem to be exclusively playing the punk circuit but it's only a matter of time before a major act swoops them up so see them now. Chills are guaranteed.