|We Are The Champions|
Talk about a lineup. This tour was siiiiiiick. Like "OMGZ" I need to sit down and catch my breath after reading the lineup. Torche, Kvelertak and NAILS. All three bands have released killer albums, all produced by Converge's Kurt Ballou, in the past few years. This overs the creme de le creme of metal, rock, hardcore/grind. Even the local opending act Dangers is ridiculous!
So we arrived early to catch Dangers because they impressed the hell out of me when they opened for The Dillinger Escape Plan back in January. This time I was familiar with their songs, and impressed by how tight and close to their album they sound live. Their singer Al is a madman on stage, jumping into the the crowd and running around the pit like a wild injun, jumping and crawling while shrieking at the top of his lungs...while barefoot. Can't wait to see these guys again.
Kvelertak was next. I really enjoyed their self titled debut album from 2010, and was looking forward to watching them rock out, but alas, I was starving. My girlfriend and I headed to the back of the venue (where you can't see jack) to get some pizza during Kvelertak's second song. The band sounded awesome from what I heard...but after a long day of work, we needed to eat. Sorry guys, next time.
Glad I ate, because NAILS was fucking exhausting. Imagine trying to work out with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1970s. NAILS mantra: "We came, we saw, we kicked it's ass!" This band is so heavy it's retarded. Really. I described their sound as "a monolithic slab of caveman brutality" when they opened for Dillinger in January (yeah, them and Dangers...go figure) and now I want to add, "violent" to said description. Something about this band makes causes me to speak in grunts and long for a 2x4 to smash over people's skulls. Their songs are short, fast and fucking awesome. The 2nd guitar player they added only made them sound heavier. I simply can't get enough NAILS.
Torche was next and were totally a welcome change of pace. I think I might have turned into a total werewolf if the aggro streak didn't halt right there. Luckily, Torche is all about having fun. They played a lot of new stuff of their latest album Harmonicraft, and had a lot of little HD cameras set up on stage, leading me to believe they were filming for a new video or a TV performance in the future. Their newer stuff is poppy enough to get dudes and ladies alike to move and dare I say, even dance, near the front of the stage. Then their older material comes along and is so heavy it has heads banging throughout the venue. So glad Torche was on this bill. Kudos fellas.
They opened with "Concubine" and the Echoplex exploded. I learned my lesson from my FYF. My girlfriend and I retreated to the outskirts of the floor, away from the pit, but still close enough for me to get some awesome videos. Since their superb new album, All We Love We Leave Behind, dropped in October, it was almost a given that Converge would be playing a lot of new songs. However, the band went online and asked fans what other songs they'd like to hear on this tour. The response was massive. EVERYONE had a thousand old song they wanted to see live. I was stoked they played "Heartless," one of my top choices!
Rare gems like the ultra dirge-y "You Fail Me" and from way back when "My Unsaid Everything," gave Converge's old school fans a nice nod, while all the new jams from All We Love flat out slayed. "Trespasses" "Sadness Comes Home" "Glacial Place" "Empty On The Inside," etc etc. I've never been
more stoked to hear a band play new stuff in concert before.
The venue had lots of floor space, which gave the sold-out capacity crowd room to breathe. I think that's what kept the energy level relatively high throughout the night. People could take a step back and catch their breath before jumping into the pit for the next song. After a full night of ass-kickery, and a full day of beforehand, I was exhausted by the time Converge wrapped their hour and half set up with the always epic, "Last Light." After paying homage at the band's merch table (and getting a sweet ass Axe to Fall flag) I ran into Converge singer/visual artist/record owner and awesome human being Jacob Bannon outside. Dude looked drained. He was covered in sweat, his voice barely audible and was still chatting it up with fans outside. He may have gone through the ringer onstage, (and every night) but you know he'd do it again, to the delight of assholes like me, in a heartbeat...forever if he could pull it off.
That's why Converge rules folks. Check em' out next time they're in driving distance. And if you ever see NAILS, bring ear plugs and a baseball bat.