Converge and Touché Amoré live at London Koko

Converge,
London Koko,
25/11/12

Tall, cavernous theatres like Koko may not be the ideal setting for a hardcore show, but then Converge are no ordinary hardcore band, and tonight’s line-up reflects this.

A Storm Of Light are armed with some seriously seismic grooves that fill the venue with ease, and give its foundations a bit of a shake into the bargain. Behind the band, a huge projector screen shows footage of rioting, war and burning cities – an appropriate backdrop if ever there was one, as this is perfect ‘impending apocalypse’ music. It’s an assault on the senses, and an oddly reassuring one at that.

A combination of almost non-stop touring and last year’s excellent ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ album have gained Touché Amoré plenty of well-deserved recognition, and tonight they justify the hype in fine style. Every word is screamed back at vocalist Jeremy Bolm as his band rip through the likes of ‘Pathfinder’ and ‘Home Away From Home’ with minimum stage patter and maximum conviction. They’re clearly stoked to be touring with Converge, and with their intelligent, honest approach to hardcore, greater things surely await Touché Amoré.

The last time we witnessed Converge separated from their audience by a barrier (at the Electric Ballroom a few years ago), frontman Jacob Bannon seemed uncomfortable – prowling the stage like a lion unable to savage a nearby herd of wildebeest. This time around, he comes across more like a hardcore Spiderman – zipping around the stage with barely a pause for breath, and that’s when he’s not actually down on the barrier screaming into the front rows.

Never slouches in the live department, Converge get through a good 20-odd songs tonight. ‘Sadness Comes Home’ (a highlight of recent album ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’) is already a crowd favourite, although – as ever – ‘Jane Doe’ era favourites like ‘Bitter And Then Some’ are the ones that really push the already-seething pit into overdrive.

Few bands find themselves making some of their best records after nearly two decades’ existence, but such is Converge’s position. No surprise that their fans are as devoted as they come, and on tonight’s evidence, that shouldn’t change anytime soon.

Alex Gosman