Converge – House Of Blues Orlando

by Alicia Lyman

There were mixed reviews from many fans, fellow musicians, and industry folk about the set Converge was developing as I waited to meet their tour manager by the back stage entrance to House of Blues Orlando. From this perspective I could see the entire crowd, most of stage left, and most of the security guards throughout the venue a little confused as to why there wasn’t more moshing. There were little sects throughout the sea of people that were chanting along, and pumping their fists to drummer Ben Koller’s beat; but on the contrary, some were just standing there, wondering what was going on.

After their set I eventually got backstage to interview Ben and front-man Jacob Bannon. It was the second date on the “Mastotour” and I asked how they felt about the show. Jacob said, “It was a big stage, but you know…a good vibe. Ben added, “It was definitely a concert at Disney World, so we were kind of out of our element. We would’ve rather played a show in Albany, New York…at a dirt bar, but it was pretty fun.”

A majority of their music videos to date have been live shows shot by fans throughout the years that were captured on a DVD called Converge: The Long Road Home (Deathwish Records). More live videos can be seen on their website by High Roller Studios originally based in Philadelphia, PA (now in NJ) but their most recent video for the title track “No Heroes” was directed by Ryan Zunkley. Knowing that most of the artwork accompanying their albums, promotions and website has reflected some of Jacob’s lyrics, I asked what the process of making music videos has been like for them.

Jacob stated, “Strange. Really odd.” Ben agreed, “Yea!” Jacob continued, “I’d say that our last video was probably the most comfortable video. The environment was really low key, and it was just two brothers (Ryan and Eric Zunkley), two hardcore kids from Cleveland. They just did an awesome job, and it was the first music video they ever did.”

Having been on Epitaph for 3 years now, he said “we’re kind of set in our ways.” There is something to be said for that, and it may describe why some of the audience that evening was confused by the shrill brutality of arbitrary song structures Converge had in their set. These guys have been around for more than a decade. Signature songs like Concubine, Eagles Become Vultures, and No Heroes only proves that they are still way ahead of their time!


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