“We’re a band. We play songs and make sounds.” That seems like such a generic statement but it was the first thing Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon said as he took the stage at The Fine Line on Wednesday night and it is honestly the best way to describe the entire evening. It was all about the music and the energy that floated between the nearly sold-out audience and crowd throughout the three-band line-up and it was just what I needed.
Rockford, Illinois based Frail Body got the night started off right at 8:30 PM. Although I have seen Frail Body before, something felt different about their performance on Wednesday and I was absolutely loving it. With a perfect balance of chaos and beauty throughout the set, I feel like I got more of the tender side of this trio during their quick thirty-minute opening set. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of pure chaos scattered throughout the performance but I was more struck by those moments where the guitar added more of an ambiance than an aggression. Looking back, it could have been just the mood I was in that I focused in more on those more atmospheric moments than the loud and in-your-face chaotic snippets of their set. It’s been a weird week and I still have a lot to do before Punk Rock Bowling this weekend. I think I was looking for a sense of calm in my hectic life but, at the same time, I thoroughly loved the way I was able to let off some emotional steam during the more intense moments. What I’m trying to say is that Frail Body’s set was a rollercoaster of sounds and emotions making it a perfect way to kick off the Wednesday night show.
I have to be honest, with Converge as the headliner of the night, I wasn’t expecting such a tender vibe to radiate from the stage but I continued to get that feeling as Frail Body left the stage and Brutus took over. Hailing from Belgium, Brutus has a super interesting set-up. Most plainly, I found it super interesting and intriguing that vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts is also the drummer of this act. Okay, I know this is not a new thing. There are plenty of bands where the vocalist is also the drummer but there was something different about Brutus and Stefanie particularly. I wasn’t fighting with the crowd and spent majority of the set towards the back of the room making it hard to see exactly what was going on but I definitely got a bit confused as I tried to get on my tip toes between people to see where the vocalist of Brutus was. It took me a bit to realize that she was behind the drum kit. Again, this is not a new move but the fact that her vocals were so smooth and perfect and the drumming was steady and intense is what really stood out to me.
Beyond Stefanie’s talent and the clear talent of the other members of this act, Brutus wasn’t quite for me. Their sound was just a bit more radio-ready rock than I think I was expecting from an opener for Converge. Kind of like what I was saying regarding the show on Tuesday night, this is not a knock on this band or their talent. They honestly sounded great and I get the appeal of their music for some many people but, unfortunately, I am just not one of those. All that being said, I felt like Brutus did exactly what they had come to do on Wednesday night. They had the audience in the palm of their hand and gave a truly stunning performance regardless of your thoughts on their overall style.
Headlining the show on Wednesday night was the almighty Converge. I have written about Converge multiple times and, looking back, I always seem to say the same things when it comes to their live shows. I apologize now but it’s going to be more of the same for this post. That doesn’t mean that Converge is a stale band or anything like that but more just means that they know damn well what they are doing every time they hit a stage and always do it with an undeniable sense of passion and power that will leave you completely speechless.
With vocals that, at time, sound more like an added percussive element to their sound rather than actual words to guitars that are dizzying and chaotic yet come together to form a perfectly orchestrated sound to the relentless drums that keep everything together- Converge is one of those bands that, when listening to them, all I can hear is my dad’s voice in my head saying, “But why are they so angry?”. That’s a bit of a joke but it also isn’t. Converge is one of those bands that I regularly listen to when I have some steam and aggression to get out of me and they always do the trick. Seeing them in the flesh takes that feeling to an extreme in all of the right ways. As they played through their set on Wednesday, I could feel all of the weights I had been carrying recently and all of the stress I have been feeling fall to the wayside in a very rejuvenating way.
Converge performed for a solid hour and played through what felt like their entire discography just as far as the albums they picked songs from but it wasn’t enough for me nor the people around me. Sure, it was late and, yeah, it was a school night, but there’s something addicting about being at a Converge show. Feeding off the energy from both the audience around you and the band itself leads to a complete misjudgment on time in the best way meaning that as they wrapped up their set just before midnight, everyone was left wanting so much more.
Venue: Fine Line
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 38
Crowd Surfers- 4 or 5 Counted but there were probably more
Stage Divers- 3 spotted but, again, there were probably more
Mosh-ability- 9 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 8 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $1.26
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Bodies, Drinks, hats
Fights- None Witnessed
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Frail Body – 1
Converge – 3
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score – 9.2 out of 10
Show on Deck — All The Pretty Horses / The Silent Treatment / Butter Boys / Surly Grrly
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