Friday, November 2, 2007

Nov. 7: Circle the Date

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2007 at 8:14 PM

I always love it when I see that the Circle Bar has booked another big-name (in my world, at least) band. It’s like a friend calling me up and saying, “Hey Noah, you might want to get over here … Old Time Relijun is playing in my living room.”

Hitchcockesque on the outside but cozy-as-hot-cocoa inside, the pint-sized

Lee Circle joint is so tiny that audience claps count as active percussion. After all, in a 10-square-foot space, amplification is merely an afterthought. When the San Diego spook-folk group Castanets visited in early 2005, a wooden box serving as a chair for singer/guitarist Ray Raposa’s accompanist also doubled as a drum kit; she rapped out hollow, haunting rhythms on it with her knuckles.

Such absurdist intimacy is what makes otherwise run-of-the-mill shows at Le Cirque so memorable. And while it wouldn’t be all that unusual to find Quintron or the Morning 40s performing a set in your buddy’s foyer, seeing an act like Castanets or the K Records staple Relijun — scheduled for a gig next Wednesday with inquisitively verbose locals Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? — in this rare shoebox setting is a different matter entirely.

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