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Concert Review(s): Converge 10-19-2009 / Gallows 11-08-09 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH

In the past month or so I attended two of the craziest shows I have been to in quite some time. This year I have seen a lot of different genres of music live and really nothing was that out of hand to the point where I left almost laughing at the insanity of the performance of both band and crowd. The last two shows though that I attended at the Grog Shop, not only did I leave satisfied with the show, but also was just blown away at the insanity created during it.

A few weeks back I was invited to see longtime hardcore act Converge play a small show with special guests High On Fire and Keelhaul. Converge and High On Fire were taking a break from the [adult swim] sponsored Mastodon / Dethklok tour. As much as I wish Mastodon and Dethklok made a stop as well in Cleveland I knew that Converge and High On Fire would play longer sets at the smaller venue.

Keelhaul, a local metal band, played a great, mostly instrumental, set to  small but growing crowd. I was pleased to see these old school (to me) Clevelanders take stage and deliver some solid sludge metal. At times they were heavy and out of control while other times formulated into a Clutch like jam the whole crowd appreciated.  They were solid and really into their performance and I am glad I got there in time to see them.

I saw High On Fire previously over the summer at Bonnaroo so I was already aware that they would put out a sick performance. The band rocked from the moment they took the stage until their final song. Playing for just over 45 minutes I enjoyed seeing a good metal set and was even treated to a new track from their upcoming release. Lead singer Mike Pike admitted that they had not played a small venue in a while and perhaps that is why they all seemed so pumped to play that night.

High On Fire Setlist:
Fury Whip
Blood from Zion
Eyes and Teeth
Commeth Down Hessian
Waste of Tiamat
Frost Hammer
Rumors of War

Sadly some people actually left once High On Fire was done. Why? Who knows…their loss.

Now where do I begin with Converge? I have to admit that I missed them all of the previous times they came through Cleveland for whatever reason so this was my first taste at live Converge. All I have to say about their set is this…WOW. They played a huge array of tracks including a couple of their newest album Axe To Fall which was recently released through Epitaph Records.

For a band that has been around for 17 years they are just as incredible as ever. I have never seen anyone like lead singer Jacob scream so hard into a mic.  The fans were eating it up with the hardcore kids flailing about carelessly just enjoying themselves.

As a seasoned concert goer I stay away from the pit. I am old and get tired quickly. I can not do roundhouses with grace nor do I want to jump on top of other fans in attempts of getting the mic pushed in my face for a chance to recite a lyric. Now if I were younger you can bet your ass I would have been jumping around and kicking and singing through the set just like many of the younger fans did. It was incredible. These kids were true fans pushing out every lyric of every song with ease. I could only look at the kids and think back to the days when I did stuff like that.

Converge played songs old and new and just tore it up. It was one of the better shows I have been to all year. Hardcore is not dead by any means and Converge is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Converge Setlist:
No Heroes
Bare My Teeth
Reap What You Sow
Worms Will Feed
Axe to Fall
Eagles Become Vultures
The Broken Vow
Drop Out
Hope Street
Bitter and Then Some
Last Light
Dark Horse

A few weeks later one of my favorite UK bands invaded Cleveland once again. There was no way in hell I was going to miss this show. Sadly a lot of my friends punked out but my pal Josh and I trucked up the the Grog Shop on a Sunday night in hopes of a great show featuring none other than Gallows.

Local openers Wreak Havoc and Above This Fire were both decent openers. I have heard of each act and have seen their names posted around Cleveland for some time now yet never checked either out.   Their fans were all about both sets as they jumped on top of each other and kicked and danced around the pit. I do need to note one particular instance of the night though that cracked me up during Above This Fire…

There was a younger fan, a female fan, who was a little shorter than the rest. She stood her ground at the front of the stage with a mean pissed off look that honestly resembles mine. Every once in a while she would take a lap around the pit and push people around and clearly was just into the set doing her thing, being hardcore. For whatever reason during one of the rounds she decided to go into the crowd and punch me straight in the kidney. On purpose or not, I was laughing too hard to feel the pain… Don’t worry, I did not retaliate.

This was my third time seeing Gallows live and there is a reason for that…they own.  Frank Carter and crew put on a killer performance and the kids were jumping and kicking and screaming their hearts out. I thought for sure Carter was going to take the mic into the pit and sing in the crowd as he has done previously but this time he planted his feet on stage.

I don’t know if it is from constant touring or what but Carter just looked tired and not himself.  He sang on point but lacked the overzealous attitude I usually am humored by.  He is usually outspoken and just a bad ass but this time around he seemed tame.  Even the crowd did not seem as insane as when I saw them at the Warped Tour.  During the Gallow’s cover of Black Flag‘s “Nervous Breakdown” I thought for sure the Grog Shop was going to be one giant circle put but it did not even make it past the pillars in the center of the venue.

On occasion Carter dipped in the front row while singing but never stepped foot in the pit until the last song.  Covering songs on both albums it even seemed as if they could have played a little longer but before I knew it Carter announced it was the last song and busted into “Orchestra Of Wolves”.

During that last song he let the fans take over singing duties as he jumped in the crowd and pushed himself to the back of the pit where I was standing. After a few moments the sweaty skinny hardcore Englishman thwarted back in the pit and back on stage. Once the song was done that was it. No encore, show over, and I loved it.

Sadly I was not paying a lot of attention to the set because I had one too many PBR‘s during the show.  If anyone knows of the set the Gallows slammed out that night let me know and I will gladly post it.

As I finish this blog up tonight it was brought to my attention that the Gallows jumped off the AFI tour due to illness in the band.  Perhaps that is why Carter and crew did not seem nearly as energetic.  Direct from their website they stated:

We will not be appearing on the remaining 5 dates with AFI we were scheduled to play. This is due to members of the band being very sick & we need some urgent rest. We’re very sorry to anyone who bought tickets to see us on these shows, we will be back soon!

Rest up Gallows.

I may be getting up there in age but I can tell you that I had a blast at both shows even if I stood at the base of the put and did not move at all.  Crossing my arms and nodding my head is my way of approval these days and I can tell you I did a lot of that at both shows I attended.

Converge Posts A New Track From Their Upcoming Release!

Are you in the mood to listen to something that very well may damage your eardrums in the best way possible?

If so you should head over to Converge‘s MySpace page and check out their first track titled “Dark Horse” off of their upcoming album Axe To Fall that is scheduled to be released on October 20th on Epitaph Records.

I can not even tell you how pumped I am to see that they are dropping a new album.  After all it’s been about three years since their last studio album.  I am sure this will be just as amazing as the previous. 

I’m feeling a little old here too realizing that the band has almost been together now for 20 years.  That is impressive and it really looks as if this band has no intention at all of slowing down. 

As an added bonus Converge will be going on tour in support of the album as well as will be opening for Mastodon and Dethklok for their [adult swim] tour.  That tour is going to be insane. 

Converge will be making a stop in Cleveland with High On Fire, but they will be without Mastodon and Dethklok.  The good thing about this is that the stage will be all theirs providing for a longer and more intimate set.  The bad news is the obvious.  If you want to see that amazing freaking [adult swim] tour with Mastodon and Dethklok headlining you will have to venture to another city.  Click the picture below for more info on that.

The following comes from a press release from the good folk over at Epitaph Records:


Essential Hardcore Outfit Announces New Album and Fall Tour

August 18, 2009 – Los Angeles, CA. – Groundbreaking hardcore-metal band Converge will release their long anticipated new studio album, Axe To Fall, on October 20 via Epitaph (vinyl on Deathwish). Considered one of the most intense, important, and influential metal/hardcore bands ever, Converge continue their uncompromising evolution, experimenting and manipulating the fiercest form of music with the most aggressive album of the year, Axe To Fall.

Fitting like a puzzle piece in their all but flawless catalog, Axe To Fall is an undeniable progression in the band’s canon of cacophonous sound, dexterous skill and ingenious art, as thirteen of the most viciously powerful songs Converge has ever written reign down on listeners in a surge of sonic fury. True to their meticulous DIY style, guitarist Kurt Ballou helmed production duties once again from his infamous GodCity studios in Salem, MA.

Without warning, Converge lets their metal flag fly on Axe To Fall when drummer Ben Koller’s galloping beats meet Ballou’s lightning fast riffs as bassist Nate Newton provides a pummeling backbone and vocalist Jacob Bannon takes command with menacing growls on the album’s shattering opener “Dark Horse.” Perhaps Converge’s heaviest music they’ve ever recorded, the foursome invited a slew friends to contribute to the album, and the result was a wall of metal-infused hardcore on a level that’s never been heard before.

Songs like the hardcore pit-swirling “Effigy” (feat. Steve Brodsky/Lead guitar, Adam McGrath/Guitar, J.R. Connors/Drums), the furiously relentless neck-breaker “Wishing Well” (feat. Ulf Cederlund/Lead guitar/backing vocals) and the blazing thrash-track “Cutter” (feat. John Pettibone/backing vocals) keep the album moving with power and energy. As defiant as ever, Bannonroars through songs about despair and self-indulgent choices warning that “we’ll show the demons for what they are.” As the album comes to a close it takes a doom-ridden turn as Neurosis’ Steve Von Till shares vocal duties with Bannon on the brooding track “Cruel Bloom” and Genghis Tron’s Mookie Singerman providing lead vocals on the beautifully dark post-metal album closer “Wretched World.”

After 19 years as a band, Converge still maintain the steadfast individuality and uncompromising artistic vision they had when they formed. The band has been credited with giving rise to a genre of music and influencing bands worldwide, yet by never wavering have created a sound that is entirely their own.

Withthe release of Axe To Fall on the horizon, Converge are readying an arsenal of music from their storied catalog to unleash on audiences across the US when they tour with Mastodon, Dethklok and High On Fire in October.

Prepare yourself for the year’s most vicious album, Axe To Fall.

Axe To Fall Tracklisting:
1. Dark Horse
2. Reap What You Sow
3. Axe To Fall
4. Effigy
5. Worms Will Feed
6. Wishing Well
7. Damages
8. Losing Battle
9. Dead Beat
10. Cutter
11. Slave Driver
12. Cruel Bloom
13. Wretched World

Converge Tour Dates:
09/05: Los Angeles, CA @ F Yeah Fest w/ F*cked Up, Cold Cave, and more
09/24: Durham, NH @ UNH w/ TBA
09/28: Iowa City, IA @ The Picador w/ TBA
09/29: Gillette, WY @ Knights Of Columbus w/ TBA
10/02: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/03: Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/04: Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/06: Calgary, AB @ Big Four Building w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/07: Edmonton, AB @ Shaw Conference Center w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/09: Salt Lake City, UT @ Great Saltair w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/10: Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/12: Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire 10/13: St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/14: Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/15: Nutty’s North @ Sioux Falls, SD w/ High On Fire
10/16: St. Paul, MN @ Myth w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/17: Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/18: Milwaukee, WI @ Eagle’s Auditorium w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/19: Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop w/ High On Fire
10/20: Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/21: Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/23: Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/24: Buffalo, NY @ The Fairgrounds w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/25: Albany, NY @ Armory w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/27: Boston, MA @ House Of Blues w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/30: New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
10/31: Washington, DC @ Patriot Center w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/01: Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/05: Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/06: Myrtle Beach, SC @ House Of Blues w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire 11/07: Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/08: Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphit w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/11: Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/12: Houston, TX @ Verizon Wireless Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/13: Austin, TX @ Austin City Music Hall w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/14: Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/16: Las Cruces, NM @ Pan American Center w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/17: Mesa, AZ @ Mesa Ampitheater w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/18: Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
11/19: Los Angeles, CA @ Palladium w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
05/28: Baltimore, MD @ Maryland Deathfest w/ Entombed, Obituary, 16, and more
05/29: Baltimore, MD @ Maryland Deathfest w/ Entombed, Obituary, 16, and more
05/30: Baltimore, MD @ Maryland Deathfest w/ Entombed, Obituary, 16, and more

Mastodon & Dethklok?

Prepare to have your eardrums destroyed.  Two of my favorite metal acts have announced that they will be touring together this fall. Mastodon & Dethklok team up on an [adult swim] tour with special guests Converge and High On Fire.

Oh man I am so there…

Date Venue City, State
10/2/09 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
10/3/09 WaMu Theater Seattle, WA
10/4/09 Orpheum Theatre Vancouver, BC
10/6/09 Big Four Building Calgary, AB
10/7/09 Shaw Conference Centre Edmonton, AB
10/9/09 Great Saltair Salt Lake City, UT
10/10/09 Fillmore Auditorium Denver, CO
10/12/09 Uptown Theater Kansas City, MO
10/13/09 The Pageant St. Louis, MO
10/14/09 Val Air Ballroom Des Moines, IA
10/16/09 Myth St. Paul, MN
10/17/09 Aragon Ballroom Chicago, IL
10/18/09 Eagle’s Auditorium Milwaukee, WI
10/20/09 LC Pavilion Columbus, OH
10/21/09 The Fillmore Detroit Detroit, MI
10/23/09 Sound Academy Toronto
10/24/09 The Fairgrounds Buffalo, NY
10/25/09 Armory Albany, NY
10/27/09 House of Blues Boston, MA
10/30/09 Hammerstein Ballroom New York, NY
10/31/09 Patriot Center Washington, DC
11/1/09 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
11/5/09 Tabernacle Atlanta, GA
11/6/09 House of Blues Myrtle Beach, SC
11/7/09 Hard Rock Live Orlando, FL
11/8/09 Pompano Beach Amphitheater Pompano Beach, FL
11/11/09 House of Blues Dallas, TX
11/12/09 Verizon Wireless Theater Houston, TX
11/13/09 Austin City Music Hall Austin, TX
11/14/09 Brady Theater Tulsa, OK
11/16/09 Pan American Center Las Cruces, NM
11/17/09 Mesa Amphitheater Mesa, AZ
11/18/09 House of Blues Las Vegas, NV
11/19/09 Palladium Los Angeles, CA
* schedule subject to change