Circle Takes The Square with Lightning Bug and Relentless Approach at Slowdown | Photo Essay

[Editor’s Note: Molly Misek is one of Hear Nebraska’s spring multimedia interns. Now, nearly at the end of her internship, she reflects briefly on the experience of spending a semester photographing shows.]

photos and words by Molly Misek

There’s a peculiar moment, a moment that arises before shows where I don’t know the band. A moment of hesitation that can be prolonged into an hour or two of dawdling around my apartment, weighing my options, telling myself that perhaps I should stay home tonight. That I’ve never even heard of this genre of music, let alone the actual act. That I have a project due next week.

This was my dilemma before seeing Circle Takes the Square at Slowdown a week ago. Judging from a Google image search and a sample of a few songs, I knew the punk rock band from Savannah, Ga., didn’t fall within my spectrum of musical preference (though it did look like they had a great light show).

But every single time, I go to the show. After all, this is my job. I take concert photos. More accurately, I recreate the concert experience for those who missed the show or want to relive it. Even if my friends all bail and I’m left to attend it alone — which happens frequently — this is my job. And I love it.

And every time so far, this decision has paid off in full. It’s become a sort of ritual: I enter by myself, the room dimly lit and buzzing with strangers. I choose my nest for the night, usually a spot toward the front, where I can observe the particular climates of venues like The Waiting Room, O’Leaver’s or the cozy front room of Slowdown.

On Tuesday night as I sat with my favorite concert buddy, my camera, waiting for the next band to come on stage in a lineup that also featured Lightning Bug and Relentless Approach. Personally, through taking pictures and feeling the comfort in the strangeness of the people, the strangeness of the music, of myself, my confidence has grown. I’ve learned how to exist with only my thoughts and the music for three hours. I’ve learned that making small talk with fellow concertgoers and musicians can, in turn, make a lot of friends.

I’ve learned that the most kickass concerts are those where I walk in open, innocent, acknowledging my musical naivety and hoping to change my definition of “good” music. Circle Takes the Square absolutely blew me away. It wasn’t “my type” of music, and that didn’t matter. The songs were carefully crafted with musical balance, managing both an orchestral and sludgy sound with zealous guitar riffs and all-out screamo moments. The foreboding cadence of “Enter the Narrow Gates” accompanied the starkly colored light show, meticulously planned to achieve full musical effect. The audience loved every minute of it. I loved every minute of it.

Lightning Bug brought a balance of alternative tracks to the show, and Relentless Approach had a distinctly metalcore, house-show sound, engaging the audience throughout their short yet powerful set.

Check out more photos from the night below.

Circle Takes The Square

Lightning Bug

Relentless Approach

Molly Misek is a Hear Nebraska multimedia intern. Reach her at