all words and photos: Mike Danko
For a lot of people, mostly the older crowd, seeing Converge was for nostalgia and to see how the songs from Axe To Fall fair out live.
Let’s face it: the two albums prior will never live up to Jane Doe, which is undeniably Converge’s defining album. Now, the big question is will the new songs cut it when played live in front of a mob of metal and hardcore kids, who want nothing more than to join in sing-alongs with Jake as he shoves his microphone into their faces.
Any concerns around Converge still being able play was put to rest when they tore into the opening song, Fault And Fracture. The set started of furious as the crowd answered Jake’s singing with backing vocals that were so loud that it must have made the band feel they had another set of monitors pointed right at them. Now sporting a wild mane of hair, bass player Nate Newton stared right into everyone’s eyes and kept ribcages rattling with his bass.
With each new song there was at least two classics played, reassuring long time fans that it’s still the Converge we all know and love. What kind of a setlist would it be with out Conduit, Homewrecker, and Albatross? Jake made sure he passed the mic to everyone in the front for some good old fashion hardcore sing-alongs and even made a point of shaking everyone’s hand before clearing out for Thursday.
For those of you who may remember Converge from like 11 or so years ago here’s a little treat… Photos courtesy of Bobby Azarian from Handplant (Va Beach Hardcore).
As road crews hurried to tear down equipment from Converge and prepare the stage for Thursday there was also a line change in the front row behind the barricade. Soon all the smelly headbangers and hardcore kids were replaced by innocent looking indie-emo kids.
During the set change the fellow next to me said, “I apologize in advance if I hit you or your camera. But it’s going to get wild up here.” I thought to myself “Wild? Dude, where the hell have you been for the past 45 minutes???”
Minutes before Thursday ripped into At This Velocity Jeff Rickly expressed how excited how he was to back in DC and explained how he misses the days of sharing the stage with American Nightmare and Fugazi. OK, nice name drop but no one in the first row got the first one–just a bunch of blank stares from all the kiddies with X’s on the back of their hands. Oh well. At least they knew how to show their appreciation for Thursday. A massive applause came when For The Workforce pumped through the speakers and no one missed a single line in Paris In Flames.
It’s been a while since I saw Thursday play. In fact, it had to be when I lived in WV and I was working with a few punk-zines booking hardcore shows in Huntington. This was when is was still considered a practical joke to book Thursday at your club on a Friday and see people show up the day before. OK, I know that sounded a like poor attempt at humor but it’s true. The bad jokes came when Jeff tried desperately to keep the crowd entertained when the band was experiencing technical difficulties. Thankfully that ended before long and they poured it on with Signals Over The Air and closing with a heartfelt Autobiography Of A Nation.