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Converge, Torche & Kvelertak played Highline Ballroom & The Stone Pony (review, setlist, video)

by Andrew Sacher

Converge at Highline Ballroom – 11/11/12 (via Jere Waldron)
Converge

Converge frontman Jacob Bannon stood pretty inconspicuously on the side of the stage at Highline Ballroom last night (11/11), casually talking to the crowd, as if he wasn’t the frontman of the band that was about to go on. Finally he said, “We’ll start, we’re just waiting for our band name to show up on the screen!” Then the colorful background of the band’s tour flier appeared and Bannon yelled, “Tonight we’re called Colors!” and leaped to the center of the stage as the band hammered their way into “Concubine.”

I should mention that last night was my first time seeing Converge. For a band with such impenetrable status and a long-running, loyal fanbase, I had been a little worried that I wouldn’t fit in amongst the masses who had probably seem them countless times before — not the case. There was nothing but positivity from both the band and the crowd alike. So as a newcomer, it took only a matter of seconds into their first song for me to realize why people say “it’s all about the live show.” Watching Jacob Bannon’s energy and spirit on stage, I felt like I was seeing the foundation of every other hardcore frontman to come after him that I’ve ever seen. And he isn’t without one of the best bands around on stage, either. One listen to any Converge album, and you know they kill, technically speaking. They’re just as flawless live, and they do it while rocking the fuck out.

Converge have a great new album out this year, All We Love We Leave Behind, and after playing a couple other cuts from their previous albums, they went into a string of new ones, playing tons of highlights like the album’s punishing title track, “Sadness Comes Home,” and the standout single, “Aimless Arrow,” among others. 20+ years into their career, the new album is just as fresh as their older favorites and it came off that way at the show too. It’s got more of a stripped down feel than its predecessor, Axe to Fall, an album which felt like more of a studio project and featured a number of guests, so when they play those tracks live, you get the feeling that you’re hearing them exactly the way they were meant to be heard.

Before Converge took the stage, we were graced with sets by their tourmates Torche and Kvelertak, both of whom, like Converge, are blurring the lines between punk and metal, and both bands have recorded material with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou behind the boards. Kvelertak brought their triple guitar-swingin’ attack over from Norway, playing rock n’ roll in the most classic sense of the term, just way more aggressive. They played pretty much all the standouts from their 2010 self titled LP like “Mjod,” “Fossegrim,” “Blodtorst,” and others. Then Torche took the stage, playing a comparatively calmer set than the two bands they were sandwiched between but a great one nonetheless. They opened the set the same way their new album, Harmonicraft, begins with “Letting Go” directly into “Kicking.” Those were followed by a few others from the new album, which I’m a pretty strong supporter of, but it seemed like the crowd didn’t pick up as much until they started churning out the older favorites like “Grenades.”

The night began with a set from Whips/Chains, the new project of Coliseum’s Ryan Patterson, Black God’s Ben Sears, and Xerxes’ Will Allard, who have been opening a few of the tour’s remaining dates. The tour wraps up in Cambridge, MA tonight at The Sinclair. It also hit The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Saturday (11/10) and you can watch a video of Converge playing “All We Love We Leave Behind” at that show, and the setlist from that show (which was pretty similar to the Highline one) below.

Converge – “All We Love We Leave Behind” at The Stone Pony – 11/10/12

Converge at The Stone Pony – 11/10/12 Setlist: (via)
Concubine
Dark Horse
Heartless
Aimless Arrow
Trespasses
Bitter and Then Some
All We Love We Leave Behind
Sadness Comes Home
My Unsaid Everything
Glacial Pace
Cutter
Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast
Tender Abuse
On My Shield
Axe to Fall
Empty on the Inside
Eagles Become Vultures
The Broken Vow
You Fail Me

Encore:
First Light
Last Light

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