Venue: La Tulipe
Opening bands: Loma Prieta, Burning Love
This was my second of three shows in a row and I'm still awake. Awesome! Opeth, Mastodon and Ghost are tonight.
First of all, I have to say that I was really excited to see this show. Converge is starting to become one of my favourite bands and I had heard positive comments about their live performance. Also, they hadn't played here for about six years so I knew the crowd would go crazy. When I got in, the place was almost already packed; the 700-800 people capacity venue was sold-out. The only bad thing is that the first band, Git Some, had not managed to cross the border. I didn't know what they sounded like, but I still wanted to discover them. I guess I'll give them a listen sometime.
This cancellation made the San Francisco screamo outfit Loma Prieta the opener for this night. I had listened to their EP Last City
before going to the gig and I was not that much impressed, probably because of the mediocre production and the overuse of gain in the vocals. However, they totally blew my expectations away with a performance of an intensity that is rarely witnessed in bands. Their songs sounded immensely heavy and the drumming was extremely aggressive. They managed to merge this violence with beautiful, despair filled, emotional moments, which is (from what someone told me; I'm not yet an expert in screamo) what "real screamo" bands like Orchid did in the 90s. They had a duo of vocalists (the two guitarists) that gave even more emotion and power to their music. I'll definitely have to listen to their new album I.V.
, because I surprisingly loved their set.
The other supporting band was a new band from Toronto: Burning Love. They've released a pretty good album in 2010 named Songs for Burning Lovers
and they're releasing a second one, from which they played many songs, this year on Southern Lord Records. They play a mix of hardcore and stoner rock. I have to say that their performance was a bit underwhelming: their songs didn't sound as powerful as they do on CD and they had technical problems. For example, near the end of their set, one of the guitars just stopped working and it took a lot of time to make it work again. Their frontman was funny and he had tons of energy, but he seemed frustrated by the lack of crowd reaction. There was some moshing, and some singing, but nothing that serious. He did all he could to make people move, which got to the point it was hilarious: he threw water at the crowd, he threw his mic stand in the pit, and at some point he jumped down the stage, moshed a little bit, and then went in the back to sing in the face of some hipster that was fully concentrated on his iPad. The guy kept looking down and didn't realize what was happening until about 30 seconds. The look on his face was priceless.
For the two last songs, they finally got people moving and screaming. The singer continued with his bold attitude and even exchanged shirts with a fan. They gave on a good show, but nowhere as good as Loma Prieta or (obliviously) as Converge.
At last, the band everyone was waiting for took the stage, and the place was packed as hell. They started with their epic emotional 11 minutes track "Jane Doe". I was immediately surprised by how the band sounded good, especially Jacob Bannon's vocals, that were raw, passionate and still spot on. Other things I loved about Jacob's performance are his theatrical gestures, that are really fun to watch, and his heartfelt and sincere way to talk with the crowd. The other musicians, especially Nate Newton (also known for his excellent band Doomriders), had a lot of energy and moved a lot. While he moved a bit less than his bandmate, Kurt Ballou is a fucking genius on guitar and watching him play was fascinating. The grandiose post-rockish finale of the masterpiece title-track to their landmark album Jane Doe
was directly followed by the melodic and punkish "Dark Horse". As soon as the characteristic drum beat started, the whole floor just blew up and became an enormous mosh pit. I was expecting it and the crowd did not disappoint me: this was one of the biggest reactions I've ever seen for a band. Later, they announced that they had finished recording their new album and that it was going to be released this year. They played four new songs from it, and believe me, they fucking kick ass. "Empty on the Inside" had a more punk/hardcore feel, while "Aimless Arrow" was a fast grinder and "Shame in the Way" is probably going to be one of their heaviest tracks. I can't wait until it's released! Another of the best moments of the set for me was when they played one of my fevourite songs ever, "Axe to Fall". Everyone went nuts in the pit. It was pretty much the same thing with the grande finale, "Concubine", in which the crowd gave every little ounce of energy they had left.
Converge is one of the finest bands in music history, period.
Empty On the Inside (new song)
No Light Escapes (new song)
Reap What You Sow
Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast
Aimless Arrow (new song)
Hell to Pay
Shame in the Way (new song)
Axe to Fall
The Broken Vow