Metalcore pioneers Converge hit Montreal’s La Tulipe on April 5th, supported by openers Loma Prieta and Burning Love. Denver’s Git Some, originally on the line-up, were regrettably not granted entry into Canada. If you’ve never been to a hardcore show before, this would have been a perfect introduction. The sold-out building was almost exceedingly crowded, and the stale heat and smell of sweat became increasingly prominent as songs progressed into another.
Opening act Loma Prieta began their set with the first song from their recent release, I.V., titled Fly by Night. Rush etymology aside, the Skramz outfit could not have chosen a better opener. Immediately drawing a solid crowd, the song marched into its melodic break. Before long, they had transitioned into Trilogy 4: Momentary. Eschewing traditional song structures, the group pounded dissonant chord progressions, seasoned with abrasive feedback. Loma is touring in support of their new album, I.V., released on none other than Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish records.
Burning Love were a less remarkable outfit, but worthy of attention nonetheless. Taking clear influence from Hardcore veterans Every Time I Die, and Canadian heroes Alexisonfire, Burning Love lamentably played it safe. Aside from an interesting (and perhaps improvised; we’ll never know) several-minute spanning breakdown used to transition into their last song, Burning Love didn’t create the visceral atmosphere that one would anticipate at a Hardcore show.
Converge, seldom known to abide by the status quo, started out with a song that surprised everyone present. Jane Doe, the 12-minute finale from the eponymous 2001 album, began with battering guitars, and vocalist Jacob Bannon’s screams “Faster than light and faster than time, that's how memory works.” The crowd, originally perplexed, soon began to take advantage of bearing witness to a track rarely heard live. A thunderous “I want out” must have been heard from blocks away as the song moved past its 5 minute mark. As the setlist progressed, things accelerated, and the crowd reacted as one might expect; Converge’s shorter songs all flew by, with rampant crowdsurfing and moshing.
About halfway through the set, Bannon, pushing on 37, paused to share his experience being in a band for 21 years. “I love these guys, and I also fucking hate them too.” With more than half his life spent on the road, the group have come a long way. Before returning to the set, he made a passing remark that surely offended crowdmembers. “Fuck honour, fuck brotherhood. This is expression; this is music.”
Converge wasted no time waiting for the crowd to request an encore. Just minutes after leaving the stage, they returned, weary and fatigued. The Salem, Massachusetts foursome played crowd favourite Concubine, the first song off the critically and commercially acclaimed Jane Doe. There’s something to be said about the boys starting the show with the last song from their breakout album, and ending it with its opening track. Delivering a nearly flawless performance, Converge shows no signs of slowing down. The genre giants plan on releasing a new record, titled All We Love We Leave Behind this fall.