Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts with a discography that boasts seven albums (excluding split releases with the likes of Hellchild and Coalesce) Converge are now in their twentieth year. Their latest offering Axe to Fall features collaborations with Neurosis and Genghis Tron, intimidating to say the least. It’s been two years since they last paid Dublin a visit, tonight the reputable Kylesa, Gaza and Kverlertak are supporting them at Whelans.
First up are the relatively unknown Kverlertak who have the difficult task of entertaining a crowd who are, lets face it, waiting impatiently for Kylesa and Converge. Fair dos to them as they successfully grasp the audience’s attention and earn themselves a hefty cheer at the end of their set. Next in line are Salt Lake City’s Gaza. Delivering a fun and frenetic set that shakes up the somewhat reticent audience, their abrasive sound hits the spot. The pressures on Kylesa now to keep the good flow going.
Kylesa are touring with their latest album Static Tensions and interestingly enough, are backed by two drum kits tonight. However this provides for an unbalanced sound as multiple kick drums overshadow their guitars and vocals. Thankfully, they iron out the kinks in time for favourite track ‘Time Will Fuse It’s Worth’ and this allows for the ferocity of Laura Pleasant’s vocals to really make an impact. Not exactly dizzying, but Pleasant’s brutal vocal range is definitely the highlight of the evening so far.
Technical difficulties make for some fumbling about in between Kylesa and Converge’s set. After a substantial wait, front man Jacob Bannon charges the stage and offers his apologies for the delay. Bannon seems to be one of these people who just exudes charisma, his presence on stage immediately draws the masses in. The crowd surges forward and a mosh pit ensues. By the time Converge reach their second number ‘Dark Horse’, many have opted out of the swelling circle pit. The more raucous fans restrain themselves just long enough to banter with Bannon in between songs. The quartet aim to engage their audience’s attention, and succeed.
Tonight’s set is a welcome mix of old and new material, from the new release to the seminal You Fail Me. Tracks such as ‘No Heroes’ delight but it’s favourites such as ‘Fault and Fracture (Jane Doe)’ that thrill the crowd. The show comes to an end and they thank the crowd for making this the best night on tour so far. It’s clear that even after two decades together Converge are still passionate about what they do. They close with the ruminative ‘Last Light’ and it seems Bannon has everyone screaming along as he roars its lyrics, a faultless exit.