Converge is a band that truly needs no introduction. Having harnessed a sound that has defined the tedious and seamless fusion of metal and punk over the last decade, these mainstays recently embarked on a East Coast tour with Loma Prieta, Birds in Row, and Git Some. Over 20 years active, Converge recently wrapped up recording a new full-length album tentatively titled As We Love We Leave Behind, scheduled for a Fall release. Also in attendance for last Friday’s performance at Philadelphia’s fantastic Union Transfer venue were Baltimore’s own rising stars, Pianos Become the Teeth.
The Union Transfer is one of Philadelphia’s newest theater venues that seldom sees aggressive shows, such as this tour package, but hats off the R5productions crew for running a very tight ship in this immaculate new show space. Even security on the floor was on point as bouncers were there to ensure safety and not discourage the raucous antics of Philly’s hardcore scene, of which, there was plenty.
Git Some, featuring ex members of Planes Mistaken For Stars, kicked off this 5-band event with their blend rock-tinged hardcore that quickly moved bodies to the floor. Git Some recently dropped a new self-titled EP on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label, that was also home to their 2010 LP, Loose Control. Now ten years deep in the game, Git Some continue to blast out tunes that the gods of Rock n’ Roll can smile upon with a live show that delivers.
France’s Birds in Row are a three-piece outfit not to be reckoned with. While the prevailing sound can easily elude an audience in beleiving that this is familiar territory, the band’s approach and delivery remains fresh and unique throughout. Despite the overflowing amount of emotion and energy behind the music, Birds in Row‘s delivery offers varying levels of catchy hooks and standout sections. Birds in Row are currently supporting their Collected LP which is available through Vitriol Records and soon to be released through Deathwish as well. Collected is a repress of the band’s Rise of the Phoenix 7-inch and Cottbus” LP, all remastered and repackaged. Fantastic collection of songs here, highly recommended. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on 2012.
Loma Prieta have had no shortage of coverage at Blow The Scene, we recently interviewed the band and covered their last Philly performance with Punch, who they also share members with. The band’s latest LP, I.V. hit streets in January and has continued the band’s evolution as one of the frontrunners of melodic hardcore. The band’s combines elements of screamo, metal, grind, and post-hardcore into an emotional amalgamation of sound that has often been emulated by peers, but as fans know, there is only one Loma Prieta. Loma Prieta is one of those bands that make it hard to decide if it’s better to stand and soak in their frenzied blend of emotional hardcore, or start ripping it up in the pit or stage diving. Philly fans spent the first half of Loma Prieta‘s set doing the aforementioned, before building up some momentum and just letting loose during the band’s closing songs with a frenetic explosion of energy as many rushed the stage. Always a pleasure to see this genuine band rip through Philly, as they broke off a healthy dose of old and new songs to delight of an ever-growing fan base.
Pianos Become the Teeth hit the stage next still riding a wave of momentum surrounded by the release of their latest album, The Lack Long After, which hit streets via Topshelf Records last November and received rave reviews from some of the most well-respected music outlets on the scene. Apart from Converge, PBTT had the next largest following of fans who mouthed almost every single lyric that singer Kyle Durfey let loose during his loosely wavering and often flailing stage performance that appears almost clumsy in gesture, but remains in complete control of each song. Backed a band that is road-tested, Pianos Become The Teeth gave fans more than what is expected of most supporting performances and played a plethora of newer and older material.
Hardcore mainstays Converge hit the stage with an epic performance of “Jane Doe,” the title track of an album that would forever change the course of American hardcore in 2000, forging a new path for metal-infused-hardcore punk. Front-man and vocalist, Jacob Bannon and his all-star team including guitarist Kurt Ballou (God City Studios), bassist Nate Newton (Doomriders, Old Man Gloom), and drummer Ben Koller (All Pigs Must Die, United Nations, Acid Tiger), broke off the most solid Converge performance I have seen in 15 years of following the band. Bannon took immediate control of the audience, stomping across the stage with arms flailing, letting loose primal screams as his relentless approach quickly stepped on and ran over those would proceed to grab his mic chord or flash cameras in his face. It was no holds barred, as the band ripped through a set that spanned their catalog and included 4 new songs that blew the roof off of the Union Transfer. Just thinking about these new tracks gets my blood pumping, each with a different set of motifs. Some were double-bass heavy, while others centered around Ballou‘s unique string tapping approach with plenty of melodic dissonance and hooks. After a forty-five minute barrage of flawless song executions, Converge broke off a rendition of “Concubine” that was for the books. Fans rushed the stage and Bannon handed off the mic for a moment of true catharsis that saw a packed theater revel in the unhinged emotion of this musical powerhouse. Bulletproof performance.
Our incredibly talented photographer Dante Torrieri of Useless Rebel Imaging was on hand to capture the show in photos. And it should be noted, this master photographer never uses a flash, so you could stand right next him and never know he was capturing these fantastic photos as he does so often for us and the music community. We are lucky to have him. Be sure to stop by his site and give some serious love.
Without further ado..
All Pictures by Dante Torrieri of Useless Rebel Imaging
Words by Joshua T. Cohen
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