A much anticipated bill made its way into Deep Ellum on Friday when Neurosis and Converge came to town. It’s been ages since Converge played in Texas and even longer since Neurosis came through. This time they shared the stage with French hardcore band Birds in Row. I’ve always enjoyed this band’s atmosphere, even after the unexpected change in sound. I haven’t been keeping up with Birds in Row lately, so the revision did catch me off-guard. But, the performance was even more riveting than the last time I saw them.
The crowd for Converge (Salem, Massachusetts) was huge, with people filling Canton Hall nearly to the back of the room. This was expected. Converge is known to have a loyal fan base made up of both young and old school folks. That may be because they’ve never lost what many artists in the genre seem to lack lately – substance. I have to admit, I owe them a little gratitude, too (which is funny, because vocalist Jacob Bannon kept thanking us). As the band plowed through 19 songs across seven albums, the crowd was bouncing off the walls. The majority of the material (10 songs) came from their most recent album, The Dusk in Us. Dozens of bands I love today probably wouldn’t exist without Converge. Their surprise EP, Beautiful Ruin – that they dropped just weeks ago – is some of the best news I’ve heard all month. With these tracks, they brought us some of the most varietal riffs released in some time. It sounded as if there were ear-splitting alarms going off at times…hey, maybe there were. Converge is on fire.
Soon the room smelled of skunk and smoke filled the air. The total turnout for the show being about 500. After Converge, the crowd did start to thin out a bit, but not by much. Even so, people were even more engaged for Oakland, California’s Neurosis than they were for Converge. Bassist Dave Edwardson looked a bit like Jason Segel, but with a head of bright pink hair. Their time with us was haunting. A bit mind-blowing too, being several years since their last Dallas gig. Playing nine songs across six albums, including three songs from their latest album, Fires from Within, the band held the audience captive. The band didn’t play anything prior to 1996s Through Silver in Blood, but as the audience exited the building, no one complained. I’m sure most of the room had goosebumps throughout the whole set – that wicked guitar tone is partly to blame. Nothing touches Neurosis. This was a cathartic experience to say the least and I’d go as far as calling this show legendary.
– DeLisa McMurray
– click to enlarge photos –