Four bands of note played Circus last Wednesday, but I'm focusing on one here for the following reasons:

Four bands of note played Circus last Wednesday, but I'm focusing on one here for the following reasons:

1. I missed most of the set by the utterly unique, perilously messy, endlessly intriguing rock band Steamboat, and I'll need more than three songs to fully process them.

2. I've reviewed Speed Governor before, and while they've gotten significantly snappier, I don't have much new to say about their workmanlike indie rock.

3. I was dozing off by the time math-y instrumentalists Lemia Belus hit the stage - due to the late hour and not the quality of the music, I think.

Those bands can look forward to a future go-round with Sensory Overload, but in the meantime, let's consider Hurt People Hurt People.

I went to high school with a couple of these guys, and around that time they started a metal band called Party Patrol that later changed its name to Anchor - a significant downgrade, in my book. So I was glad to see their latest band name was a return to the humorous.

Hurt People's set took me back to high school in other pleasing ways. Around freshman year I dabbled on the fringe of screamo, post-punk and nu metal. (Well, OK, there was nothing fringe about my nu metal consumption.)

This group's self-described "post-punk progressive melodic indie math pop" reminded me of the best of those bands, the ones that I remember with a fond smile and not an embarrassed grimace.

At the Drive-In's volatile freight train, the bombastic tirades of Refused, Deftones' pairing of the melodic and chaotic - Hurt People's whirlwind stage show conjured up all of that for me. But despite referencing a bygone era I thought wasn't due for recycling, they don't feel like a relic.

Some of that had to do with Nathan Caraway's rampant enthusiasm. The bearded frontman turned somersaults and paced the stage briskly, unfurling raucous screams and indecipherable rants as he teetered on the verge of magnetism and madness.

His bandmates deserve credit, too, for finding just the right blend of jazz, prog and pop influences to make this brainy strand of punk feel vibrant when most bands that attempt it seem flaccid.

For more local music news, check out the Sensory Overload blog