The Cirkus is back in town | Music Feature | Indy Week

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The Cirkus is back in town

Raleigh's old-school hard rockers reunite--minus the heavy pyrotechnics

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In the days when a good party band meant being able to manhandle some of the time's hardest rocking cover songs, which in turn, sparked some original songs as well, Raleigh group Cirkus burned brightly. They are coming back for a one-off, all-ages show at the Lincoln Theatre this Saturday, July 19, for fans and family alike.

In a run from 1978 until their demise in 1983, the band specialized in those classic numbers by rock bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest and Van Halen, often mixing in some punk with the Ramones and Clash and even pulling off a metal version of disco diva Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff."

With a stage presence featuring the band outfitted in designer jeans and sneakers, frontman Steve Quinney swinging the microphone and riling the audience in "Are you ready to party?"-style jabs and, yes, pyrotechnics, Cirkus became a mainstay at area venues. The band has members spread all over the country now, while Quinney still lives in Raleigh, where he runs a karaoke entertainment business.

Rock 'n' roll is something of a family affair now for Cirkus, with band members' children, and even a grandson to have appearances on stage. There won't be any flames shooting from the stage this time around, but the spirit will still be there. Quinney says "We were well known for use of pyro, but since the Great White incident, it is too complicated and expensive. ... We have plenty of cool visual stuff planned however, because people expect a little more at a Cirkus show!"

When asked why they chose to come back and play again now, after all this time, Quinney turns the question on its side. "A better question would be why not? ... There is a real propensity now with hard rock/metal bands to be depressed, angst ridden, angry about life and not without some reason, but don't forget we had Vietnam, Richard Nixon, line-ups at the gas pumps, the whole nine. But we liked to laugh at it and stay in the 'happy groove' and I think people respond to that favorably. Two of our favorite bands that are still considered superstars to this day are AC/DC and Van Halen and they didn't take any of it seriously, so why should we? No different today. " EndBlock

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