“C’mon people, get down the front – it’s bad enough that there’s this barrier here!” growls Animosity vocalist Leo Miller to the largely static throng – and he has a point. A great hardcore show demands the kind of intimacy and audience participation that, tonight, is hindered both physically and atmospherically by the unnecessary presence of a crowd barrier at the front. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the Electric Ballroom’s hit-and-miss acoustics aren’t doing Animosity’s furiously technical death metal assault any favours, either.
Thankfully, the sound improves for Rise And Fall, who deservedly make several new friends tonight with their more stripped-down, punk rock approach. You can’t help but admire vocalist Bjorn’s enthusiasm as he rasps his way through some truly punishing breakdowns. 108 don’t have as much to say for themselves, preferring instead to channel an onslaught of Deftones-esque riffage through a hardcore blender – albeit with varied levels of success.
Converge, as always, give it their all, although Jake Bannon clearly shares the crowd’s annoyance regarding the barrier. Less his usual tattooed whirlwind self, he mainly just stalks the stage like a caged tiger, unable to engage with his prey in the way that he’s accustomed to doing so.
Granted, there’s no shortage of ferocity in the music itself – the likes of ‘Black Cloud’, ‘Hellbound’ and ‘Concubine’ are pretty much the last word in brutally twisted, polyrhythmic hardcore – but when several punters choose to head for the exit rather than witness the jaw-dropping finale of ‘Jane Doe’, it’s hard not to contemplate just how amazing this show could have been in a more suitable venue.
Photo by Ryan Russell, taken from www.myspace.com/converge