Last Wednesday, I was able to attend an exclusive industry showcase performance by rock band Circle the Earth at the SIR Studios Rehearsal Space in Hollywood. The group, founded by bassist Michael McBay and fronted by industry vet Khadia, only has five singles released, but used the showcase to preview new material and showoff their dynamic stage presence and live show.
The talent of the band was apparent even before Khadia took the stage, with keyboardist Sandy Chao Wang and guitarist Kazuki Tokaji jamming and playing off each other, while consistently-smiling drummer Sandro Feliciano kept the beat going. When Khadia entered, she seemed intent to make a statement, rocking a shiny studded leather jacket and an AC/DC shirt. As a vocalist, Khadia has a similar tone to Beyonce, but her stage presence draws more from Tina Turner in the way she struts, dances and performs.
While I was not overly familiar with the group’s songs before the show, they captured a polished pop rock that sparkled with a bit of 80’s glam. Lyrically the group strived for uplift, with tracks like the ballad “Diamonds” applying the metaphor of pressure turning coal into diamonds to surviving life’s pressures. Their newest song (featured on our NMF Playlist last week) “Sweetest Pain” has a bit of emo to it, and the “sweetest” guitar solo from Kazuki. And the highlight of the evening was closing track “Green Light” (currently unreleased), which was an electric dance rock jam that could certainly be a hit for the band.
The band and their performance were smooth and perfectly honed, at times to their detriment. There was such a polish to everything they did, the show at times felt more like a staged performance than an authentic rock show. And for every blistering metal guitar solo or heavier intro (for one song, they almost felt like they were channeling White Zombie), the songs never really attained any grit or crust, which I would have loved to hear. Khadia’s a good vocalist, but I was curious to see if she could belt out a scream like her shirt’s namesake, and make their songs rock just a little harder.
There is plenty of potential in Circle the Earth, and they’ve certainly got the hooks and pop choruses down. I’ll be looking forward to the release of “Green Light” and seeing what they do next. Find their music here, and listen to their new single below.