16 September 2006
They use the phrase beautiful disaster for moments like these.
Following an eclectic set from THE BRONX, Salem, Massachusetts’ own CONVERGE took the stage to kids ready, willing, and waiting to have their faces ripped off. Security surveyed the crowd and realise that they would actually have to work when the band prepared for their first song: the floor had divided in anticipation for the impending thrash, kids were completing last minute stretches for the forty minute dance party that would soon follow. As soon as vocalist Jacob Bannon picked up his microphone and said, “Thank you all for coming out. We are CONVERGE, and this is Concubine”, the crowd surged forward like tacks to a magnet towards the barricade. All hell was about to break loose.
For those unprepared [i.e. the security team] for the explosion of sound and bodies, the song came as a bit of a surprise. It was loud, and heavy, and thrashy all at once; it was everything and nothing that anyone had expected. For those who live and breathe Jacob Bannon’s lyrics, for those who take his words as divinely inspired gospel, the opening notes of their set unleashed a swirling, frenzied, chaotic mass of bodies, limbs, sweat, and voices. The uninitiated learned quickly that it was kill or be killed; join in and participate in the set or get out of the way. CONVERGE’s kids shrieked, flailed, and spat back every syllable that was thrown at them. The mimicked every action on stage on the floor and reciprocated the energy tenfold.
The set, however mind blowing, was not without it’s problems, though. Faulty sound and faulty microphones plagued the band for most of the set. Bannon was unable utilise his microphone for a full song at a time from the time he set foot on the stage, until the time he walked off stage. At times, he was forced to use guitarist Kurt Ballou’s microphone, visibly frustrating Bannon as he was forcibly tethered to the right side of the stage. With his agitation rising, the house sound technician finally was able to maintain vocal sound for Bannon for longer than a minute [perhaps the speed of this was encouraged by certain words from the vocalist which left the tech visibly frightened.]
Where vocals failed, however, the performance did not. Even without a microphone, Bannon and Ballou were all engaging and interactive with the crowd. Bannon barked, spat, and sang through his songs, which were often drowned out by their extremely dedicated and exuberant fans, singing along to every word. The only exception to this was during the two new songs that made their debut that night, one of which was entitled Voices. if these new songs are any indication of the overall feel of the record, then expect this to be their heaviest, angriest, thrashiest record to date.
Playing in a support slot does not showcase CONVERGE at their best, but it definitely gives whomever in attendance a brief glimpse of the forefathers of modern metalcore and a glimpse into it’s future. If you missed COVNERGE on tour with THE BRONX and MASTADON, don’t ret They will be heading out in the early fall on a headlining tour with SOME GIRLS and MODERN LIFE IS WAR. Their new record, No Heroes hits stores October 24, 2006 via Epitaph.