Circles Around The Sun Perform at The 9:30 Club [Audio/Photos]

By Jason Herman / January 19, 2018

As Circles Around The Sun took to the stage at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC on January 18th as Neal Casal greeted the crowd “Good evening on a cold winters night”. Twenty minutes into the performance, after the first song, Casal pointed back to his band and said “We are going to do a whole lot of that (points to band) for a while.” True to his word the band performed for almost two hours of interrupted instrumental musical bliss.

Neal Casal of Circles Around the Sun at The Hamilton 11/22/2016
Neal Casal of Circles Around the Sun at The Hamilton 11/22/2016

In 2015 this band started out as ten instrumental songs commissioned by Justin Kreutzmann, filmmaker and son of Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead to accompany the film “Fare Thee Well”. Reception to the songs was so strong that the band performed at Lock'n Festival in 2016 and has intermittently toured ever since.

Circles Around the Sun
Circles Around the Sun

Circles Around the Sun takes a Grateful Dead song, finds a quintessential component of the song, strips it down and then composes and reimagines a song around that component. It’s as if we slipped briefly from this reality, into a another realm where the music of the Dead is at once both recognizable yet strange and new. During this performance one could not help but notice a familiar bass line of “Sugar Magnolia” strongly embedded inside of “Scarlotta’s Magnolias”. One could also not help but notice that the 9:30 Club was also stripped down as well to it’s quintessence, an amazing quartet of musicians on stage with their instruments and a few monitors. There was no photographer pit, no elaborate stage decorations or light snow, or wireless transmitters between instrument and soundboard. It was four amazing musicians locked into their instruments - Neal Casal (guitar) played intricate and effortlessly the entire evening hardly ever adjusting his pedal tones; Dan Horne (bass) layed down stunning and intricate baselines all night that resonated and penetrated deep into the 100 decibel performance; Adam MacDougall (keyboards) hunched over his keyboards like a mad genius and adjusting the ethereal sounds coming out instrument; and Mark Levy (drums) enthusiastically set the back beat of the evening and playfully engaged his cymbals adding both beautiful rhythm and texture to the performance.

DC Music Review looks forward to seeing Circles Around The Sun circle back to the region soon for another night of astounding and inspired psychedelic jams. Until that time we will always have the matrix recording and photos below to remind us of an unforgettable performance.

Setlist

Setlist

Setlist


Click here to see the setlist for Circles Around The Suns' performance at the 9:30 Club on January 18, 2018

Audio Recordings

Audio Recordings

Audio Recordings


Enjoy audio recording of the performance recorded by our collaborator Will Urquhart.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Enjoy photos by our photographer Josh Brick  of Josh Brick Graphics.

Associated Albums

Associated Albums

Associated Albums


About the author

Jason Herman

A 24x7 member and Photo Editor of DC Music Review. Jason has been passionate about music since his earliest days and is especially excited about the music scene around his adopted hometown, Washington DC. With over 35 Grateful Dead and 80+ Phish shows, and countless music festivals under his belt, you can find him at concerts around the country but especially in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. Before turning his lens to music, Jason followed professional cyclists around the U.S. Domestic Circuit to the tallest mountains in Europe.