Source: Yours truly (confirmed by band members, videos, setlist photos, etc.)
So the evening started out with a two-hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus to see this show, followed by a three-hour drive to Pittsburgh so I could crash, wake up in the morning and make the finishing touches to the paper I presented this afternoon at the conference I'm attending this week. The things some folks will put themselves through in the name of metal, no? Totally worth it, though.
I got to the venue in the middle of KEN Mode's first or second song, I think. It's cool because I talked to their vocalist/guitarist Jesse Matthewson later and he confirmed the set for me. They tore shit up. They're a great fit for this tour, even though this was the only date they're playing. I always tell people who haven't heard them that KEN Mode sounds somewhat like Converge, but with deeper vocals and slightly heavier bass (at least on some songs). Jesse mentioned that they are going to be touring with Revocation soon (although I don't think that's news anymore, but I could be wrong). He also said their new album should be coming out in 2013. They played:
Counter Culture Complex (new)
Extending Common Courtesy Throughout the Evening
No; I'm in Control (new)
Book of Muscle
Flight of the Echo Hawk
After a relatively short set-up, Norway's own six-piece drunken whackjob crew set to turning the place upside-down with their infectious brand of sometimes-slightly-blackened-but-always-fun party metal. They were a blast. The frontman tried to interact with the crowd some, but I would say the language barrier may have gotten in the way (even though his English was more than passable). I guess if you speak the language as a secondary thing, you don't have quite the edge that a person who speaks the language all the time would have in terms of getting the crowd fired up. At any rate, the music took care of whatever perceived shortcomings Erland may have had in the charisma department. They played:
New song? (dedicated to Converge & Torche)
I got HD video of their entire set (
), which is how I confirmed the set list. I don't speak fucking Norwegian.
Next up was Torche. I'd missed them the last few times they came through or near Northeast Ohio, so I was about due for another dose. The set was quite heavy on the new album, which is basically excusable because it fucking rocks. They also pulled out some bangers from Meanderthal, including my all-time favorite Torche song, "Across the Shields".
They also finished with a nice one-two punch from back in the day with "Brown Recluse" and "Tarpit Carnivore". Holy fuck is that song heavy. The last time I saw them, they closed with "Meanderthal", which is equally ridiculous and also a great set closer. Finally, they threw out a couple of new tracks as well, the first of which was really heavy and slower-paced, which their merch guy told me he thought was called "Rock & Roll Mantasy" (yes, that's a totally intentional sillyass pun on the Bad Company song), and the second of which was more of a mover but still quite heavy. They were both somewhat longer than many of the songs Torche has been releasing on their last two albums. They played:
(Tech issues / Harmonicraft tease / solos)
Across the Shields
Snakes Are Charmed
(New song) -Rock & Roll Mantasy?
Charge of the Brown Recluse
I got HD video of their entire set (
), which is how I confirmed the set list (although I knew about 90% of it before watching the video). They had some technical problems in the middle of their set, as noted above, and during the lull Steve teased a little bit of the title track from the new album. I almost shat. I wanted them to play it so bad, but I don't think they've been playing it live for whatever reason. Then Steve proceeded to rip out a few silly-ass solos to keep the crowd entertained while the new guy Andrew tried to get his shit straight (at least I think that's who was having trouble). Rick fucked around on the drums some, too. In the end, they started shredding together and played something that sounded like early Napalm Death, after which Steve gave a very uncharacteristic death metal bark into the mic, and everybody laughed. Good times.
Next up was Converge. This was my third time seeing them. I always forget how good they are - especially live - because their music shows up on my radar screen, hits me like a ton of bricks, I love it, and then it disappears for a while. I don't know why that is. I certainly can't claim to be a die-hard fan like most of the other tattoo-wearing, patch-sporting, merch-donning fanatics I saw at the show last night, but I also can't deny that Converge drills me right in the brain-hole every time I see them. They played twenty-three fucking songs, and their set was just over an hour long. With Converge, it's all about intensity over duration for sure. Seventy-five minutes is about all they can deliver, and it's about as much as anyone could handle or would want, I think (and I mean that in a good way). Turns out it was Jake's birthday, and just to show you what kind of intensity dude has, someone from their crew brought a cake onstage for him between songs (as noted below), and he just brushed the guy off as if to say "fuck that sugary nonsense, I've got a wicked fucking set to do here, chief!" Anyway, they were a blast as usual. They played:
Bitter and Then Some
All We Love We Leave Behind
Sadness Comes Home
My Unsaid Everything
A Glacial Pace
Worms Will Feed / Rats Will Feast
On My Shield
Axe to Fall
Empty on the Inside
Eagles Become Vultures
The Broken Vow
You Fail Me
No Light Escapes
First Light / Last Light
One last thing about Converge. I had a chance to chat with Jake at their merch table in between sets earlier in the evening, and I asked about the DVD they've reportedly been working on for a few years now. He said it's nearing completion, and that it should be out sometime next year. I told him I assumed it wouldn't have anything from the current tour on it, and he corrected me and said that no, it just might. So be looking for that in the not-too-distant future.
Also, with regard to merch, let's see...KEN Mode had all four of their albums on CD, as well as a few shirts. I bought a copy of "Venerable" because it fucking rules. Kvelertak had an awesome shirt with the album cover artwork on it, but the largest size they had was XL, so I had to pass. They also had a cool-looking jersey type shirt with a goat-looking creature on it, which I almost bought, but I decided to hold out for buying the album cover shirt online. That shit's just too awesome. They had their CD for ten bucks, but I bought it a long time ago, so no Kvelertak swag for me last night. Oh, and they had their album on vinyl, too. Torche had a bunch of cool shit. Stickers, can coozies, vinyl, and of course the new CD, plus a mess of shirts for a fair price (about $15 I think). I have all their CD's, and the shirts didn't do anything special for me, so I passed. The stuff was good, though, and reasonably priced, so if you're going to this tour to see Torche they have plenty of decent stuff to scoop up. Plus, they have this
Converge had a fucking shitload of shit. Shirts, at least one hoodie, tapestries with Jake's artwork, and damn near every album on CD as well as the DVD they've been pimping for a while now. All CD's and DVD's were ten bucks. I picked up the new album because it's the only one I don't already have, and because it fucking rocks. I was also glad to see the "Darkness Come Alive" CD from Doomriders in the bin, and I scooped up one of the last two remaining and promptly added it to my fucking cart, because it fucking rules hard. Fun fact: they played "Heavy Lies the Crown" between sets at one point during the night. I reacted instantly to it, but no one else did, so I'm not sure anyone else realized what it was. They also played a good deal of Terrorizer's "World Downfall" album during the break while Converge was setting up. That made me smile.
So yeah, it was one hell of a fucking night. Several good purchases, met some band members and got a few decent tidbits, and of course, saw four totaly killer sets by four totally rad bands. All for the low, low price of seventeen bucks. Fuck and yes. Totally worth the bangover I had while telling a bunch of dorky engineers what's what this afternoon. Fucking dorks. The paychecks in the engineering world are nice, I'll admit, but my fucking heart and soul belongs to metal. Stay thirsty, my friends.