For more than three decades, Massachusetts hardcore outfit Converge have cemented their legacy as one of the most innovative and memorable live acts in alternative music. And it is the presence within the music scene that means that nights like the one at the Electric Ballroom in Camden always have a feeling of a special occasion about them.
Bringing with them as last-minute replacements for Candy, French sludge metal outfit Fange got things underway. But it wasn’t until Sect (3.5/5) stepped out on to the Camden stage that bodies started to pack into the venue. Initially started as a bit of a side project by the members, the vegan straight edge band has now taken on a life of its own. Mixing together blast beats, shredding riffs and aggressive vocals filled with passion, the band certainly fitted the criteria for this bill, and drummer Andy Hurley showcased that Fall Out Boy isn’t his best band.
If tonight was a snapshot in hardcore history, then it had to feature Terror (4/5). Rattling through an opening run of songs of ‘Lowest of The Low’, ‘Stick Tight’ and ‘Overcome’ made you remember how many hard-hitting tracks the Los Angeles band has. Vocalist Scott Vogel had the Camden crowd in the palm of his hands, calling for crowd surfers and head walkers left, right and centre. Closing with ‘Keepers of The Faith,’ Terror showed that even though they may be considered the old guard they still have plenty of life in them.
When it came to Converge (5/5) from the moment Jacob Bannon asked the Electric Ballroom if it was ready, the four-piece were playing at full speed. Opening with ‘A Single Tear’, it was a relentless onslaught of riffs, screams and blast beats. With an extensive back catalogue, it is always difficult to tell what Converge you are going to get but pulling out deep cuts like ‘Locust Reign’ showed the band were having just as much fun as the crowd.
What makes Converge such an exciting band to watch is that all four members have their moment to shine, and considering he has just recovered from a broken elbow, drummer Ben Koller showed no signs of rust, even kicking his high hat cymbal during one of the drum fills.
Closing with an encore of ‘The Broken Vow’ and ‘Concubine’, this may have been one of the most complete all-round Converge live sets they have brought to the UK. If there was ever any doubt that Converge were behemoths of the hardcore metal world, tonight’s performance squashed them.
Words and Photos by Tim Birkbeck.