The term “supergroup” was already old when Time got around to explaining it to their readers in 1974. Having been coined in 1969 to market the British band Blind Faith (Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, and Ginger Baker), Time called supergroups “an amalgam formed by the talented malcontents of other bands.” There have been many such supergroups since: Asia, the Traveling Wilburys, Velvet Revolver. Later, the rock press began to apply the term supergroup retroactively to bands whose members were not known at the time but gained fame later. Buffalo Springfield is a prime example of a reverse supergroup, as is the power trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Now comes Circa, billed as a prog-rock supergroup that was formed in 2007 by members and friends of the band Yes. Who are these talented malcontents?
Oddly enough, tribute bands figure heavily in Circa’s membership. Guitarist Johnny Bruhns is John Paul Jones in the So-Cal tribute Led Zepplica. But he also played guitar in the Yes tribute Roundabout, where he nailed his parts so well that he was asked to sit in with the actual Yes band in Steve Howe’s absence. Drummer Scott Connor comes from a Genesis tribute band; he played in YOSO with Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood. Sherwood recorded demos with members of Yes following the departure of Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin, produced a couple of Yes albums, and toured with the re-formed band as a sideman.
Tony Kaye was the first keyboardist in Yes. His church-like tones laid the foundation for that band and do the same for Circa today. Minus the vocals, Circa sounds like mid-’80s Yes. No surprise there — with Kaye’s distinctive presence, it’d be hard not to.
CIRCA: Brick by Brick, Saturday, June 9, 7 p.m. 619-275-5483. $25 advance; $30 day of show.