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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Converge @ House of Vans, Brooklyn. W. Krallice & Touche Amore

I'll get down to brass tax immediately. I'm not a big Converge fan, I had never listened to Touche Amore before and I was too busy drinking as much free beer as I could to listen to Krallice. With all of that said, I can't think of a better show to end the summer with.

Note the cartons of water; this was pretty hip.
Things started innocently enough waiting on line an hour and a half before the show began and drinking secret whiskey  The show, being free and all, plead with its future guests not to line up before 5pm (it opened at 7pm). After enough waiting to get inside the awesomely huge skating venue, it was time to wait for free Heineken Light (hey, it was free). The place was great as it's a huge indoors/outdoors skate park that catered to the crowd pretty well.

From the little I heard Krallice actually sounded pretty good. I say it that way because being such a huge fan of the first LP I was completely dismayed upon hearing the second LP and seeing them live two years ago at one of the sloppiest/poorly set up shows I've seen. So unfortunately I chose to spend time with my friends outside who didn't care for Krallice.

I had never heard Touche Amore but they put on quite a set. Whenever I think of a screamo band, I pictured this band unbeknownst to me. Their stage presence and show were energetic, livid and not without letting the crowd take over for some verses. They were pretty good, although some porter-potty line talk with a bunch of angered guys lead me to believe this was far from their best performance. The drummer even got away with some blast beats; so I was satisfied.

Converge singer Jacob Bannon taunts the crowd atop an amp.
Finally Converge took the stage and started things off with a song I actually know by the band (I think it was "Heartache" off of No Heroes). For only having two albums of theirs, I knew a hell of a lot of songs. Converge is a band I've always deeply admired, yet never really cared for. Having sucvh a diverse and large fanbase speaks well of a band, especially in the extreme music scene. Beyond that, as successful as they may be, they've never tried to appease anyone (label or fanbase) and have always done their own thing. So whether you like the band or not, there's a huge level of respect to be given to the band. This was my second time seeing them (you'll quickly find out most people at their shows have seen them upwards of five times, typically). As mentioned earlier with Touche Amore, the sound wasn't all that great and Jacob's love for swallowing the mic made every scream completely incomprehensible (more so than expected). Beyond that, the band played a tight, energetic and a relatively short set full of crowd favorites and many new ones from their most recent LP Axe to Fall
While I've been seeing shows for over ten years, mostly in the NYC area, I had completely forgotten the testosterone driven frenzy that a band like Converge may bring. Teeth were knocked out in front of me, a guy congratulated by his friend for knocking an unsuspecting kid to the ground with a rabbit punch, broken noses, etc. This by far wasn't the most violent show I've seen, but isn't that silly in of itself that I have to give that disclaimer? I love moshing, I'm not knocking it, nor am I saying anything about the band, but rather the machismo driven idiocy that perpetuates people doing kung-fu spin kicks, windmills and cartwheel kicks into a tightly packed group of individuals. Give me any stock grindcore/ thrash band, and I'll be in the pit. The focus seems to have shifted from an abundance of energy and excitement to an excuse to fight, and show off your "dance moves."

That tangent aside, no one can complain about a free show, especially with acts such as these. Free beer to boot and you've got the quintessential summer show. Good jobs Vans and Heineken, showing you suites know how to rock out too.

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