Converge with Torche, Nails, Kvelertak and Dangers
On a night where most people were recovering from the sugar shock (or hangover) of a pre-Halloween Saturday, the metal kids came out in droves to see a fearsome line-up of bone-rattling bands at the Echoplex.
From locals Nails and Dangers to Norwegian berserkers Kvelertak, all of it served as cacaphonous entrance music for headliners Torche and Converge. Torche had everyone staidly contemplating their neat genre-hopping metal and Converge came in to chew up what was left and spit it the fuck out.
The only costumes around at the Echoplex were those typical of any hardcore happening — ragged t-shirts and tattoos, from your Celtic Frost kids to your Black Flags and Minor Threat minions. And yes, straight edge kids do still exist.
Where many of the opening bands played the kind of music one listens to while shirtless, greased-up, and staring at a corkboard of photos of your enemies, Torche is outwardly happier. They offered up less-jagged pieces of metal for slightly easier consumption.
But their more-cerebral set got edgier and darker as it went on. Right after they belted-out their bright and airy “Snakes Are Charmed” from 2012's Harmonicraft, they ground down to more definable metal sludge with older tracks “Vampyro” and “Rockit”.
Singer Steve Brooks sounded eerily disembodied, as bassist Jonathan Nunez dominated center stage. The loosely-spread crowd did their best jerk-forward slow head-bang in proper fashion. There was nothing intense enough for anyone to lift their feet or shove.
On the other hand, Jacob Bannon and his Converge cohorts dug in soon thereafter and detonated 2001's Jane Doe opener “Concubine,” in front of a primed mass of throbbing people. Shrieking, gyrating and gesticulating, Bannon stood up at one point and literally stirred the crowd into a perfect circle pit.
Much is made of the fact that the Salem, Mass foursome has been in the ear-shredding game of hardcore metal for over twenty years, but they've lost little energy in the process, only becoming more intense — if not more outwardly ferocious. It's as if age has given them more shit to be angry about.
Given that the band almost veered off a highway in Oregon a few weeks ago, Bannon stopped to thank the crowd profusely for their support. His gratitude, however, was best left to his performance, which was one of his finest in recent memory.
The rest of the set was peppered with jabs at the “I was there” crowd and their constant phone photos. “Guys, stop fucking intsagramming and enjoy the fucking show!” yelled bassist Nate Newton about halfway through.
For their older fans they offered up the classic “My Unsaid Everything” and a searing display of rage unmitigated by time.
After the dust settled, and the show ended, Bannon sat on stage, shook hands and expressed his gratitude personally. The smiling (or, bleeding) faces left the venue in a pleasant post-core daze.
Oh, don't tell anyone, but Converge will be doing an in-store performance tonight at Vacation Vinyl at 7 pm.
Personal Bias: Converge and I were both born in Salem and both of us have (presumably) murdered very few suspected witches since.
The Crowd: Y'know, kids. Sweaty people with neck tattoos, beefy beardos, and two rare crust punk specimens.
Random Notebook Dump: “Is that an Ian MacKaye costume? Nope, just another dude in a Minor Threat t-shirt.”
Set lists below
Converge Set List:
Bitter and Then Some
All We Love We Leave Behind
Sadness Comes Home
My Unsaid Everything
WormsWill Feed / Rats Will Feast
On My Shield
Axe to Fall
Empty on the Inside
Eagles Become Vultures
You Fail Me
No Light Escapes
First Light / Last Light
Torche Set List
Across the Shields
Snakes Are Charmed
Charge of the Brown Recluse