December 15, 2017
A cutting wind and biting cold marked the return of Converge to North Carolina, this time taking the stage at Motorco Music Hall in Durham. As the early birds gathered in front of the door, huddled together with their cigarettes and excited anticipation, a bright red “SOLD OUT” sign faced out to the street, emblazoned across the framed tour flyer. A sold out Converge show has a great deal of surprise to it, but one thing is certain: you’d better be ready for complete chaos.
That special vein of discord is exactly what the Boston-native group brings to the table, and has been for the past two decades since the release of their first record. 2017 has brought us the band’s latest record, The Dusk In Us; an album that demonstrates, without a shadow of a doubt, that Converge still retains their unique spirit of fury. That fury was in no short supply Wednesday night as Converge took the humble Motorco stage, preceded by two blistering sets from fellow Boston group Pile, and Washington D.C.’s GIVE. By the time setup on stage was complete, the room had already split in two, leaving a gaping hole near the front of the crowd, a void quickly filled by fans running and jumping into one another, flailing violently as arms, legs, and bodies clashed together.
The first foreboding notes of the set rang out, igniting the powder keg and sending the crowd into a full-on frenzy. When most bands begin a set, the theatrics are clear. The lights go down, or out completely, followed by a bursting storm of flashes and strobes, or something of the like. It would seem that Converge has shirked this brand of showmanship, choosing a simpler approach instead. Nonetheless, the heavy energy in the room was palpable, almost suffocating. As the crushing bass tone filled the space with a violent shake, coupled with the pounding drums and unforgiving crunch of guitar, an aura of evil spread throughout like a dark smoke. This aura has been the hallmark of Converge’s sound for decades, but something about seeing these legends live brings an entirely new depth of energy to their music and their very presence.
The set carried on at full-steam as renowned frontman Jacob Bannon ran from one side of the stage to the other, thrusting himself into the crowd intermittently and without warning, shoving the microphone into the hands of the front row as a mob of fans screamed along lyric after lyric. For some of the band’s more popular songs, such as “I Can Tell You About Pain,” “Dark Horse,” and the set’s encore song, “Concubine,” the crowd exceeded in recklessness, filling the air with the distinct scents of blood and sweat as they lost control of themselves, jumping and piling on the front row, flipping off the lip of the stage and crawling over the sea of heads, still shouting towards Bannon the whole way through, who seemed to enjoy every second of his set with a genuine zeal.
For a band that’s been unrelenting in touring over the course of their career, Converge still gives every ounce of themselves over to the stage, and to their fans. Bannon’s intense energy and bold theatrics give clear evidence to his reputation as one of the most innovative and pioneering contributors to the metalcore/hardcore/thrash genres, and the insanity that overcomes the crowds during these performances is easily traced back to the violent, devastating, impassioned fervor that radiates from the entire band. Even still, Bannon and other members of the band show a deep care for who they play for, consistently checking in on the crowd and even taking a break to make sure everyone is safe and enjoying themselves.
Seeing a band that is credited with changing the course of a genre is rare enough, but seeing Converge is an entirely different experience. It’s vicious, raw, and furious; a breed of performance that grows more few and far between every year. Whether you’ve never heard of them, or been listening to them for years, if your eyes aren’t on Converge now, you’re not looking in the right direction.
Check out the remaining dates for the Converge tour.