LIVE REVIEW: Converge Blood Moon @ Brixton Electric, London, April 13th 2016

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Picture by Steve Fever

When a band who usually play at a million miles an hour decided to do a striped back version of themselves it is going to turn some heads and pose several question.

However, in the case of Boston Massachusetts powerhouse, Converge their special ‘Blood Moon’ set seemed like the next logical step for the band.

Now I am a little bit biased, as for me the quartet of Jacob Bannon, Ben Koller, Nate Newton and Kurt Ballou can do no wrong, but even I was a little surprised (and excited) at the announcement of Blood Moon.

The prospect of the band playing songs they rarely play live with the addition of Stephen Brodsky, Chelsea Wolfe and Ben Chisholm, was something not to be missed.

Right from the off Converge offered up something new as Ballou and Brodsky took to the stage to enter straight into the opening riff of ‘Plagues‘.

Some may argue that the slower, darker songs that Converge have produced over the years as a band are many fans favourites, and this came apparent as each delay-soaked riff rung out signalling the next song.

Blood moonIn a night that was full of the unusual when it comes to Converge, the band offered up their own take on The Cure’s ‘Disintegration‘, which provided one of the highlights of the set with a thick wall of guitar tones, a double kick onslaught from Koller all leading way to whispered vocals, which broke into Bannon’s trademark howl.

The complexion of the evening changed further still when Wolfe took to the stage going into ‘Cruel Bloom’, which proved a rather haunting rendition of one of Converges darkest songs.

What impressed me most was how the band were able to completely transform their own songs to sound like something completely new. Having Wolfe doing vocals for ‘Wretched Heart’ sounded as if the lyrics had been written for her voice in mind all along.

In true Converge style they still managed to close out the night with a staple of their set, but the near unrecognisable version of ‘Last Light‘ featured Bannon and Wolfe’s ghostly vocals drifting over feedback, before the charismatic front man bellowed those iconic lyric ‘This is for the hearts still beating.’

After a brief respite the collective returned to the the Brixton Electric stage to launch into the 12 minute epic of ‘Jane Doe’, which ended with a  cascading wall of noise and Bannon on his knees barking and bleeding sweat into the mic in front of an adoring crowd.

As only one of four cites to host the ‘Blood Moon’ tour, even though I have seen Converge countless times, there was definitely something special about this night and it will be one that sticks in the mind of people who were there for a very long time.

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CONVERGE’S BLOOD MOON SET LIST:

Plagues
In Her Blood
Grim Heart/Black Rose
Coral Blue
Minnesota
Disintegration (The Cure)
Cruel Bloom
Wretched World
In Her Shadow
Last Light
Jane Doe

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