S/T Survived … Getting Our Knees Slammed Into the Stage (Repeatedly) At Converge’s Europa Show

Words and Photos by Andrew Parks

Look, I’m not gonna lie. The angry 16-year-old in me–the ex-hardcore kid that grew up in Buffalo, thought being straight-edge at 16 was an actual achievement, and really liked Snapcase for a couple years–was ecstatic about seeing Converge play a relatively intimate show in Brooklyn on Friday night. As you might imagine, I don’t rush too many stages while dodging unforgiving elbows these days. Yet that impulse hit me the second guitarist/in-demand producer Kurt Ballou hit the stage solo, sparking a tension-ratcheting rendition of “Plagues.” Luckily, no one cleaned my clock–or my camera–on the way to the front as the rest of the band joined the fray.



To ensure I’d stick in my stage right spot for the rest of the show–mouth agape, knees knocked, and back routinely pumelled–the band excavated such fan favorites as “The Broken Vow” (from s/t‘s favorite office-clearer, Jane Doe) and a spiky, speedy cut from their decade-old Agoraphobic Nosebleed split. (My brain’s still ringing, so I can’t remember which one.)

Most of the band’s 60-minute set became an instaneous blur of barking and Jack the Ripper riffs–as backed by the skittering, scampering rhythm section of bassist Nate Newton (also of Doomriders) and drummer Ben Koller (a casualty of Cave-In‘s ongoing hiatus ).  One image sticks in my mind, however: the point in “Last Light” where Jacob Bannon’s rottweiler routine dropped out, only to be replaced by a real deal hardcore singalong of “This is for the hearts/Still beating/Beating!” Melodramatic? Of course. That doesn’t mean such a genuine breakdown of the band/fan barrier wasn’t a bit goose-bumpy. Check out what I mean in the video clip and photos below …