Date: Tuesday 2nd July 2019
Venue: O2 Ritz, Manchester
Supports: Fange, Sect, Terror
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As I entered a surprisingly quiet O2 Ritz, first up were French punks Fange. The band came out fast and heavy and vocalist never stopped until they left the stage at the end of their set. Very distorted hardcore to get the night opened nicely. Despite a lack of crowd interaction the band smashed their way through their songs and their set seemed to fly by. The growls coming from their vocalist sounded impressive but his clean singing left a bit to be desired. The rest of the band put in a solid set providing a thick slab of solid hardcore for him to scream over. Certainly not a bad showing for an opener and especially given the short notice they were added to the tour. Sounded like good potential going forward though!
Next up to take to the stage were Sect and by this point the venue was starting to fill up nicely. Coming out with a much more refined hardcore and quite a heavy focus on vocals in the mix made for a nice contrast in the acts. What followed was a really impressive set that showed off just how great the whole band worked together. ‘We Too Will Scatter’ new track went down well and showed the real ethos of inclusivity in hardcore. A special mention has to be given to the incredibely tight and technical drumming provided by none other than Andy Hurley (I only learnt this as I was looking more into the band!). ‘Crocodile Prayers’ sounded brilliant live and certainly one that will be played in repeat. Sect were much more intense with the crowd and it very much worked in their favour with the crowd responding brilliantly. I don’t want to call it too early but I may have found my new favourite hardcore band!
Next up putting the fun into hardcore were Terror. One of the bands that started me on the hardcore journey so was great to finally see them playing live. As they started their set with ‘Lowest of the low’ everything sounded fantastic. As asked the crowd certainly got rowdy for them with circle pits opening up and a huge amount of crowd surfers going over the barrier. Their no frills hardcore certainly powered home and with the short sharp bursts of aggression it was clear to see why so many people were fans. They certainly showed the reason why they’re top of the hardcore game and the brutality of their show meant that everyone was moving non stop. Newer tracks such as ‘mental demolition’ fitted in brilliantly with their older cuts and finishing with their most well known track ‘Keepers Of The Faith’ got an incredible reaction from the crowd to finish their set on a high. There was no arguing that the crowd were warmed up for Converge after that performance!
With the crowd well and truly woken up after Terror it was time for a masterclass in hardcore from the mighty Converge. Coming out to start their set with A Single Tear caused a huge response from the crowd as they screamed along to every word. With all four members being in top form tonight there was no surprise that the building was packed out to see them smash their way through a huge set list. Mixing in older tracks alongside newer ones really showed just how impressive Converge’s range is and how much they have refined their style over the many years they’ve been going. Huge hits such as ‘Forsaken’ and ‘Aimless Arrow’ really crashed home to a crowd that were lapping up everything the band could throw out. Every member played incredibly and the joy of seeing Converge is watching it all come together perfectly in the mix. As the band left the stage before the encore there was a short break for everyone to catch their breath before they re-emerged to play the devastating ‘Concubine’ to finish the night off with a short sharp Bang – A very sweaty, loud, pit heavy Bang!