What better way to end a brutal 18 credit semester than to blow off some steam at a Converge show, Dec. 13 at Motorco in Durham?
I have now seen Converge in three different decades and they only get better. Staying power like that is rare in hardcore but these guys keep bringing it year after year, album after album. How Jacob Bannon’s voice has survived is beyond me. Converge is touring to promote their new album “The Dusk in Us.” The new album follows their career arc of metal influenced hardcore music. When the band started out no one had defined the word “metalcore” yet, but bands like Converge, Integrity and Hatebreed invented the genre. All three of those bands are still active so there must have been something special going around in the 90’s hardcore scene.
Converge played a set heavy with new material but still pulled from most of the back catalog. I was amazed at how heavy Converge can be with only one guitarist. At some points, the bassist would strap on a guitar and make it even heavier. The songs “The Dusk in Us” and “Worms will Feed/Rats will Feast” show that Converge can slow down, get sludgy and explode with heaviness. Then the band would flip a switch to rip off bangers like “A Single Tear” and “The Broken Vow” and chaos would ensue.
The crowd was pretty active for this show. Stage dives, mic grabs and sing-a-longs happened throughout the night. At one point toward the end of the show, the band asked a guy in the crowd to go to the bathroom and stop the bleeding from his head. Then they proceeded to joke about pathogens and the old hardcore band Bloodlet. Bannon even handed off the mic to various crowd members a few times who did a pretty good job covering his vocal duties. One person was so spot on that Bannon even called them out for being the best thing that had happened that night.
In other words, the show was a blast. There were fewer kids taking selfies and no sea of screens filming for YouTube fame. There were more people having a great time being involved with the music, the band, and the process. It really did feel like old times.
– Chris Eaves