Saturday, March 28, 2009

CONVERGE with Genghis Tron, Ceremony, Coliseum, Rise and Fall, Pulling Teeth at Europa Club 3.27.09

Eyeing this date for several weeks was I, and I knew after asking around this would definitely be a solo outing for The KCB. I brought my trusty and very old Canon which was giving me shit throughout the night but I managed many pictures from the same angle because hey, the pit got pretty heinous at times (but the entire concert was pretty controlled).

I got there right as Rise and Fall were finishing up, I would have caught their last tune but the guy in front of me had a bag full of weed and other crap that the bouncer wouldn't let him in with. So as the band downstairs was rocking out (it's amazing how separated the two levels can be especially since the stairwell is open) this guy pretended he couldn't hear the bouncer until the bouncer said, "Now I'm getting pissed off." Eventually the man was told to go home, it was like something out of 8th grade. My apologies for Rise and Fall and Pulling Teeth for not being able to make their sets.

After getting a PBR and surveying the very packed house with a really ominous wall of merch, fitting for a hardcore show such as this.

I wanted to see Coliseum (who hail from Louisville) as their stuff really caught on with me when listening to it at work and home in the weeks before the show. They have quite a bit of melody and a healthy dose of just straight up hardcore, although their look and feel during the show invited more awe at how tight the 3-piece played rather than THAT much moshing. Ryan Patterson, the big-bearded frontman and guitarist, was a pretty heartfelt guy and between the growls, chatter, and again, the surprising hints of melody (almost into Grade territory, and as many people know, I love Grade) he made a good set. It felt more rock than anything else really, very tight stuff.

Ceremony was really interesting and incredibly enjoyable; the lead singer mentioned he just came from a wedding (he looked like a younger and slimmer Bruce Campbell by way of Bridge and Tunnel). Since I love ska I guess I can take a little offense as to his mockings onstage, but then again, these guys really kicked some ass (although the guitarist reminded me a lot of Eliot's guitarist in some respects, just kinda weird). I think a lot of bands love being hybrids nowadays, as it's been trendy for a few years now. Or even having a newer, polished sound. These guys sound like they came straight from a Minor Threat, Descendents, or Circle Jerks show, and of all the bands, they actually came away as really the most integrated set with the audience, who gave them feedback in uproarious fashion and fairly violently. Toward the end of their set there was a dude who was knocked the fuzz out right next to me, sprawled on the floor as his friends and staff helped him drag his feet to the back. That's the kind of hardcore show that really hammers the feeling down, a sharp, communal rush of blood through your veins not through melody but through utter chaos, and alternating periods of speed and disruptive breakdowns.
Where's the singer you ask? Take a look in the middle, right in front of the dude with the black and white baseball shirt and below the bassist. Gotta love people who get in the mix like it's their birthday.

I had seen Genghis Tron before, and now with their ever expanding lightshow and electro setup, it definitely divided the crowd. Winning the contest of taking the longest to set up shop isn't really fun. Interesting mix of grooving rhythms (they have no drummer, it's all set up via machine) and noisy high pitched tomfoolery but ultimately not my thing. There was one girl who was totally enthralled and had their number, she was flailing about in the pit almost alone (save a couple other fans) in a trance, it was nice to see that someone really got them. Their cover of Big Black was probably the high point for me.

You can really tell that Converge, they are great showmen (Nate the bassist started things off with a loud "who fuckin' farted?"). The banter is constant and tonight they were actually just a really happy group, so I guess considering the dark subject matter they explore in their music (they managed to hit cuts from most of their albums and "Locust Reign" from their split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed, including two songs from their new album that sounded like much of what was on No Heroes but with a few more hooks thrown in). Starting off ominously with "Plagues" and breaking into "The Saddest Day" from their early work on Petitioning The Empty Sky (which consisted of a different line up, as their earlier days had constant shifts but included members of Bane and Cave In). Jacob Bannon took a break from his raspy shrieks to lend the stage to a friend for a cover, but all other times most eyes were on him; he's a great front man and his lanky frame allows him to take up a lot of space and have a strong presence but in a fluid way, smoothly working the point home. The bassist Nate Newton rocks hard with his bass hung way down low and well, it looks really cool and a bit effortless. My wrist always hurts when that happens. The hang low part, not the looking at Nate look effortless.

I always thought Converge had an amazingly large sound for a 4-piece band, and literally all the elements come together, from the crunchy distortion and very quick guitar riffs to the rumbling distorted bass to drumming you swear was done by a robot for how much endurance is needed. At the same time their sound is tighter than a NYC subway turnstile (yeah I just did that). Or no wait, the 6 train during rush hour (YES! In it goes!).

Weird side note, in 2003 in Philly at the tail end of UPenn's Spring Fling, the guitarist Kurt, his girlfriend helped me when I tripped trying to get napkins from the McDonald's station at 30th Street station. I was so psyched because my college roommate who was with me Austin was a huge Converge fan (he got me into them) and he was totally passed out on the bench.

Anywho, they rolled through their set and finished furiously with 3 of their minute-long songs ending with "Concubine" from their much acclaimed album, Jane Doe. Much stage diving to be had indeed.

For more on the respective bands, go to one of their pages and please purchase if you rikey:

Rise and Fall
Pulling Teeth
Genghis Tron

For more info on Europa Club in Greenpoint, the premiere Polish-American club, go to their official site (they do a lot of hardcore and punk shows).

1 comment:

Austin said...

Nice review Victor, thanks for the shout out.