By Billy Tuite —
Circle of Heat has been busy over the past couple years exposing Wisconsinites and Minnesotans to their weird brand of jazz-style, blues-infused progressive rock. On Feb. 21, their travels bring them to the Waterfront Bar & Grill for what is sure to be a fun, unpredictable performance.
Circle of Heat formed in early 2009 at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music. According to the band’s guitarist Tom Alane, the Twin Cities-based rockers bonded over “Allman Brothers t-shirts and old Simpson’s episodes.”
With such an eclectic sound, it’s hard to put a label on Circle of Heat. They’re classically trained musicians whose influences (ranging from Frank Zappa, Yes and Phish to Beck and Talking Heads) know no bounds.
“When writing songs, we don’t have the specific goal of fusing genres,” Alane said. “It really is just what comes out as we all add our own styles and taste to the music.”
Their diverse tunes can be heard on their 2012 debut album, “Bigwheelin’hotstuff.” Featuring songs like the delightfully syncopated “I Know What You’re Thinkin’” and the electrically bluesy “Jean-Claude Van Jamme,” it’s quite clear that Circle of Heat’s energetic music can hardly be contained in album form.
“While the album gives a good idea of what we sound like, the live shows are where we can really deliver a good time,” Alane said. “We play each performance with big energy and smiles on our faces and can guarantee great music and a fun show.”
Circle of Heat is dedicated to showing audiences across the Midwest that “loud, live, local music is alive and kicking,” even if it means enduring some hardships along the way.
“Being on the road is a lot of fun, but it’s definitely not for everyone,” Alane said. “You really have to try to save money wherever possible by crashing on cramped floors and attempting to pack a weekend’s worth of food to cut down on gas station and fast food stops.”
While they prefer the live environment, Alane said the band plans to return to the studio in the near future. He indicated that their new music will continue to be more fun and accessible within their eclectic progressive rock style.
“Now I feel like we are much more aware of the listener,” Alane said. “We’ll often check ourselves, asking, ‘Do we really need to change time signatures again?’ We are very happy with the direction of our newest songs and are taking a more focused approach to form.”
Until that new material sees the light of day, Circle of Heat will remain focused on bringing “all sorts of fun weirdness” to local Midwestern venues.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re playing for 15 or 500 people, we’re going to jam the s**t out of our songs,” Alane said.
For more information on Circle of Heat, visit circleofheat.com. Also check out their Facebook page and find them on Twitter @circleofheat for updates and extra content.