Finally got this show review up; I've been feeling under the weather and also in training class all day learning UNIX stuff I already knew anyway.
I thought I was going to have an easy trip down for this show, being as it was on Saturday instead of Friday night; regardless, for some reason 128 southbound was still basically wall-to-wall all the way to the Pike. I still got in just after doors, got parked, got a beer, got some merch, and was basically bankrupt. I came in short cash, so I wasn't able to pick up one of Mastodon's pins in addition to the shirt, which was a bummer as I'm always looking for new stuff to bolt onto my jacket, and American bands don't really do the whole patch thing that much.
Regardless, it was then time to stand around for an hour waiting for the first band to go on. Fewer bands on this outing basically meant more slack time, which would have been disappointing if the sets hadn't shaken out like they did.
The Bronx [4/7]
There were some original bits, but most of the time, they were falling short of doing with five guys what Motorhead usually does with three. Now, there's cool Motorhead-biting, when the band manages to really capture Lemmy's weird and edgy mix of repulsion and attraction, but there's also bad Motorhead-biting, in the much more usual case where the band in question is incidentally capturing the sound through basic rock'n'roll played really loud, and nothing of what makes the originals special is carried through. This was the case here; in a few spots, they brought forth some moderately original doom-thrash, but for the most part it was all stuff that everyone in the hall had already heard, and already heard done much better. I'm pretty sure no one was terribly sorry to see them go, especially as it brought us one step closer to not only the headliners but also the local heroes.
More metallic than I remembered them from Metalfest 2003, this was still mostly a hardcore performance, though just as sonically complex as ought to be expected. This broke down the pit a little, with the only real pounding going down in the first and final songs, but you can hardly blame them; with a band this good you want to make sure you're paying attention to the notes so that you don't miss anything especially cool. I'm uncertain about the newer direction in their sound; it's still good music, and from an abstract world-domination standpoint I'd rather that people were playing and listening to metal than hardcore, but I also feel that it takes away a little from what makes Converge special as a band generally. They played three cuts off their new record (coming out end of October), and all the new material sounded absolutely brilliant; I may actually have to go and pick that one up.
There was some peripheral shit-talking of this performance going on, but this was lies done by morons who were additionally from New York, and thus thought they could go on and just slag on the Massachusetts scene to assuage the sour-grapes of some of their compatriots who got ripped off on tickets and didn't even make it in time for the set. I certainly don't know which Converge set they watched that sucked, because it wasn't this one, and I don't know who sold them tickets to a fifteen-dollar show for 30 bucks. Dumbasses; NYHC, don't let your people be dopes! Keep the peace, keep the scene strong.
Now this was the real stuff. I actually haven't heard very much from this band since Remission, but they've grown enormously both musically and conceptually in that time, and Blood Mountain, from what we got at this show, is every bit as strong as its predecessors. There was a lot of their famous sludge-influenced low-end sonic stew, but perfectly cut, blended, and set off with tight and intricately arranged soloing. There's a lot more freedom in their guitars than there was five years ago, and the result is an absolutely dominating whole, both on the fullbore blasters and the more contemplative stretches; they did several instrumentals which were an absolute privilege to behold. Mastodon played for about two hours, closed with "Blood and Thunder", which should have taken all the energy out of the crowd, but we yelled them back onstage, where they did "Hearts Alive" for an encore, and then the management essentially brought down the curtain -- though the crowd at least was up for more, and it was still short of 11 PM.
All in all, this was a pretty good show, despite some really lackluster stuff from the opening act, and thoroughly worth the time and expense of getting out to Worcester for it. Converge announced that they'd be touring behind their new disc in November, which might be a cool gig to catch, though given the band this'd depend heavily on the support; I'm not quite ready to put up with another Parade of Virtually Indistinguishable Hardcore Bands like went on before Napalm Death last week. And I've got to catch Mastodon again, not only for the kickass show, but so I can get some badges for my jacket instead of a t-shirt.
I've also started building a new kutte, an ultralight, doing most of the sewing during the football games on Sunday. Six hours of sitting on the couch eating chips and listening to stupid announcers is substantially alleviated by having something else to concentrate on, and adding in five patches to the new rig, plus four more on the sleeves of my main jacket, will certainly cover for such. There will probably be pictures later, but my camera was running out of battery at the time.