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BEING THERE: Converge @ Union Transfer

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Photo by MARK LIKOSKY

As a Boston kid having come from the same early 90’s punk/hardcore scene that spawned Converge, it’s awe-inspiring to bear witness to a few suburban kids who made a demo back in 1991 slowly evolve into legends. Back then, having a demo, or better yet a split 7-inch, was a huge deal and hearing about local bands that got multi-album deals was not only unheard of but usually meant they would inevitably sell out and/or fail. This was also a time when the straight edge movement was resurgent and dark, metallic hardcore — Converge’s forte — was taking a back seat on the bus to nowhere. Converge stayed on that dark path doing their thing, powering through the macho Boston beefs rival bands got caught up in only to grow up, become dads, tour like crazy and produce nine epic albums, the newest of which, The Dusk Is In Us (Epitaph), is well worth the five year wait. Headlining a dark and packed Union Transfer, Converge had me at “A Single Tear,” just like back in the Boston days. Kurt Ballou’s guitar work still sounds like someone broke into Home Depot and turned all the power tools full blast. Bassist Nate Newton, sporting his trademark INFEST tank top, and drummer Ben Koller laid down a powerful headbanging backbeat. Singer Jacob Bannon , storming around the stage like a mad man, repeatedly expressed his gratitude for the capacity Philly crowd and for the fact that a 41 year old dude has been to be able to do this for most of his life. – MARK LIKOSKY

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