dB Live Report: Converge in San Francisco

“How’s the iPhone pit over there,” Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon says at one point midway through the band’s headlining show last week at Slim’s in San Francisco. Good question. It’s hard to figure out who would want to mind meld with their personal device when a trashcan was lobbed into the pit midway through “Trespasses.” Converge, supported by also dB approved Torche, hit the city by the bay (images from Decibel friend and photographer Raymond Ahner follow below) on the 26th. San Francisco tends to be full of jaded concert goers given that pretty much every tour comes through the city. This Friday night show was sold out. Roadies needed to replenish the merchandise early in the evening. Walking was impossible; pushing was difficult.

Decibel caught up with Bannon briefly before the set. He relayed a near-death experience on a patch of black ice and reminisced with a fan about a gig in Reno more than a decade ago when the band was charged by a machete-wielding lunatic. Apparently, Converge has yet to return to the biggest little city in the world.

Torche set the stage with bountiful hooks and grooves, including a nice serving from 2008 dB album of the year Meanderthal. The set provided a time to rock out before the knockout. Boston’s finest then sealed the deal. Bannon, sporting a tee-shirt from hometown heroes Neurosis, jumped around pre-show like Rocky Balboa gearing up for Apollo Creed. The band killed out of the gate with "Concubine" and followed with Axe To Fall opener "Dark Horse. "

This wasn’t a greatest hits evening; a good portion of the set was plucked from new album All We Love We Leave behind. The first offering was “Aimless Arrow." Even though All We Love has only been out a month the die-hards risking head kicks in the front row already know the words.

New songs seamlessly flow with old, but Converge reaches deep near the end for fierce renditions of "Tender Abuse" and "You Fail Me." Every note and word rings true. In our jaded times, it’s nice to see victories – however slight – for sincerity.

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*** See Converge: 11/01: Dallas, TX @ Club Dada 11/02: Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Festival 11/03: Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald's 11/04: Little Rock, AR @ Downtown Music 11/05: Birmingham, AL @ Zydece 11/06: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In 11/07: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade 11/08: Durham, NC @ Motoroco Music Hall 11/09: Philly, PA @ Union Transfer 11/10: Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony 11/11: NYC, NY @ Highline Ballroom 11/12: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

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