Converge / Shai Hulud / Modern Life Is War

Converge/Shai Hulud/Modern Life Is War: live in Poughkeepsielive in Poughkeepsie (2005)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ticket at the door to Rythmden fest = $35 Gas money, both ways = $20 Chicken tenders, king size fries, medium Mt. Dew at Burger King = $4.23 Seeing Shai Hulud, Converge, With Honor, Modern Life Is War, the Banner, the Red Chord, and Darkest Hour all in a day = The most ridiculous show of my lif.

  • Ticket at the door to Rythmden fest = $35
  • Gas money, both ways = $20
  • Chicken tenders, king size fries, medium Mt. Dew at Burger King = $4.23
  • Seeing Shai Hulud, Converge, With Honor, Modern Life Is War, the Banner, the Red Chord, and Darkest Hour all in a day = The most ridiculous show of my life.

There's two bands that I attribute my getting into hardcore to, and only two. The first was Skycamefalling; the second was Shai Hulud. After seeing Skycamefalling's last set ever at Hellfest `03, the prospect of seeing a Shai Hulud reunion had me pumped 8 ways until Sunday.

Rhythemden Fest was essentially set up as Hellfest used to be. Three stages, three venues, but all in the same interconnected complex. The largest stage was the Chance, which was essentially a seatless ampitheater, with a large area in front of the stage, then two higher levels behind it, and a massive, multi-layered upper tier. The L-shaped room known as the Loft was upstairs, with a decent size stage, and then Club Crannell is downstairs, boasting the smallest stage tucked back into the corner of the relatively tiny room. Bands' set times didn't usually overlap more than 10 or 15 minutes, but there was always somebody playing, so at any given time, the 2000+ that were in attendance were shuffling from stage to stage.

The Imagine started things off for me in The Loft, with their brand of music that sounds remarkably like Underoath. It wasn't anything exceptional, but kids were digging it and limbs were immediately flying. After purposely staying the hell away from Fight Paris, and catching a bit of sets from Nora, Zombie Apocalypse, the Banner, and the Distance, I had yet to be really impressed. They were all tight bands and fairly entertaining, but it wasn't until 5 o'clock when With Honor took the stage in the Loft that things really hit the fan.

I looked at the back wall of The Loft -- "Maximum Occupancy: 250." Now, if I had to venture a guess, I'd say there was easily 600 people in this place. There was no way in hell anybody could move even an inch. You could have lost your virginity in that room and never even noticed. After about 10 minutes of setup, the insanity began. There was a mad push to the stage as the Connecticut natives launched into their brand of melodic hardcore. Playing a great mix of new and old tunes, With Honor held the crowd in the palms of their hands, as singer Todd McKay tried his damnedest to get every kid in that venue involved. What was most surprising was how good of a reaction the new songs got. As the opening chords of "Like Trumpets" were played, it seemed the pile-ons nearly reached the ceiling, and stage divers were coming from every which way. The gang vocals were supplied by everyone in reach of the microphone, and it was truly an amazing thing to step back for a song and see 500+ kids singing along to every single word. As tired as I was after that set, and after catching a nice foot in the face, I made my way down to Modern Life Is War. I knew With Honor was going to be crazy, but nothing could have possibly prepared me for what I was about to experience. I parked myself right in front for the set, and without saying a word, they immediately launched into fan favorite "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." You would have thought a bomb went off in the back of Club Crannel, because every single kid in that place bum rushed the stage, screaming along to the words. Being a small kid, I couldn't hold off the 50 kids trying to get on the stage, so I got on to the stage and watched from the side, completely mesmerized by what I was seeing. Within 30 seconds, I couldn't even see the singer under the wave of people crowded around. Kids were climbing on pipes and speakers in hopes to get to the stage, and it's a wonder the band was able to continue playing, but they relished in the madness they were creating. The pile-ons and sing-alongs were the type you only hear about, but never actually see, and the singer had to climb on top of the stacks just to be able to do the songs, but that didn't stop anybody from rushing the stage to sing along. After playing a great amount of early stuff and the best songs from the new album, Including "By The Sea" and "John and Jimmy," the set was over and everyone could breath again.

That was the last I'd see of Crannell or the Loft, because the next four bands on the Chance stage were worth admission alone. The Red Chord and Darkest Hour both played terrific sets, but I couldn't help but anticipate Shai Hulud. After some technical difficulties, they launched right into "A Profound Hatred of Man," and kids went absolutely nuts. There was no signs of rust as the seminal hardcore band ripped through a 45-minute set, playing seemingly everything kids wanted to hear. What really impressed me was what kind of command on the crowd Geert had, and this only heightened when everyone heard "NO CONTACT" resonate through the speakers, meaning it was time for "My Heart Bleeds the Darkest Blood." Kids swarmed the stage in droves, screaming along then flipping off the stage from every single direction you looked at. It was madness. Like With Honor, and like Modern Life, they played a diverse array of their songs, even touching on their very first EP for some classic Hulud. I couldn't asked for more from a band who I owe quite the debt of gratitude to, and I hope that wasn't the last chance I'll get to see them.

Last on the bill for the night, but certainly not to be forgotten, were Converge. Like a man possessed by Satan himself, Jake Bannon moved about the stage with reckless abandon and screamed like it's the last day he'll ever have a voice, while the bassist and guitarist, perfectly in sync, thrashed wildly about. Their blistering, punishing metallic riffs and Bannon's trademark screech have never sounded better, as they played a little something from each of their albums, but concentrating most on Jane Doe and You Fail Me. "Homewrecker," "Concubine," "The Lowest Common Denominator," "You Fail Me," "Eagles Become Vultures," and "Hell to Pay" were all represented, ending things with "The Saddest Day." But what was most impressive about the set wasn't the song selection, but how in tune with his music Bannon is. Every step, arm motion, jerk and thrash perfectly coalesced with the music; he really is the consummate showman, and I've never seen them play better.

Yes, I realize this was absurdly long, but to tell you the truth I could have gone on a hell of a lot longer than I did, and a show of this magnitude deserves every syllable.


People who liked this also liked:
Converge - When Forever Comes Crashing [reissue]The Red Chord - ClientsPelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the ThawAmerican Distress - American DistressShot Baker - Shot BakerThe Coup - Pick a Bigger WeaponAntlerand - BranchesThe Black Heart Procession - The SpellThe Blonde Alibi - Just Tell Me Who It WasJonah Matranga - There's a Lot in Here [CD/DVD]

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
DiscoFucker (July 26, 2006)

Absolutely amazing show. I will remember this fest for the rest of my life. Only bummer is BSF was scehduled to play during Hulud, so missed them, but so did everyone else, because EVERYONE was in the main room to see Hulud. They put on a trlu inspiring set, and I am thankful to see it.

steveman (December 3, 2005)

Wow. Kudos to Anchors. I don't listen to a single band mentioned, yet I loved the review. Good writing.

Anonymous (December 3, 2005)

when i saw converge last year at the troubadour in w.hollywood they did concubine and jane doe as one long 15-minute song and it was so intense i almost shit myself

Anonymous (December 1, 2005)

totally unrelated ...but anyone here listen to captain beefheart

hobbitcore (December 1, 2005)

Municipal Waste are probably the best metal-type band going right now.

I love MW but it annoys me that people hump them so much (as with this quote). They're just recycled (and in the case of their new album, kinda watered down) 80s thrash. It's good shit but it's been done better a shitload of times. They definitely are not anywhere close to the best metal-type band going right now.

Anonymous (December 1, 2005)

What? How's it hard to get ahold of Hulud albums? Most stores carry them. If not, tons of places have them online from revelation records to amazon to interpunk...

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

I envy Achors, Modern Life Is War and Converge have to be two of the best hardcore bands out there. Lots of credit to Shai Hulud ofcourse, but it's so fuckin' hard to get a hold of their albums these days...

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Personally, I think the older stuff is more related to straight up hardcore than "screamo" Bannon's vocals throw it off for some, but everything else should be a dead giveaway.


Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Shai Hulud opened with "Scornful of the motives and virtues of others". not a profound hatred of man. They didnt play that song until near the end of their set.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Yeah, and I meant the metal-screamo stuff that's really popular these days... Not San Diego bands or anything.


Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

don't say 'screamo' -it sounds retarded

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

I dislike most of their screamo-styled stuff like Caring and Killing and Petitioning the Empty Sky or whatever, and Jane Doe seems a little too drawn out for me...

You Fail Me is pretty fucking great... Their split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed is cool, too.


Anchors (November 30, 2005)

For me, it's;

1) When Forever Comes Crashing
2) Petitioning The Empty Sky
3) Jane Doe
4) Caring And Killing
5) You Fail Me
6) Unloved And Weeded Out
7) Halo In A Haystack

k-dubs (November 29, 2005)

1. when forever comes crashing
2. jane doe
3. petitioning the empty sky
4. caring and killing
5. you fail me

etwiels88 (November 29, 2005)


Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

years spent cold soooooooooooooooo should of opened up this show.


Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Get all converge albums in this order:
1. Petitioning the empty sky
2. Caring and killing
3. Jane doe
4. When forever comes crashing
5. You fail me
6. Unloved and weeded out


Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

get Jane Doe

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

If I was to buy one Converge cd to start out, which one should I buy? Or, their best one, I suppose?

recordings (November 29, 2005)

"by the sea" was on my love, my way, not the newest album. just a small nitpick. but yea ive seen those guys about 7 times now and the crowd never fails to go nuts. its impressive to say the very least.

seeing converge would be awesome. homewrecker is the absolute shit. nice work with the review, you described the scenarios well.

etwiels88 (November 29, 2005)

And to whoever below, Geert was on That Within Blood Ill-Tempered.

jaxkid1 (November 29, 2005)

Score is for the comment made by primeevil7.

etwiels88 (November 29, 2005)

Ahhhh i want to see shai hulud againnnn fuck

jamespastepunk (November 29, 2005)

Score is for Converge playing after Shai Hulud.

Anchors (November 29, 2005)

Municipal Waste was on at the same time Modern Life Is War was, and while I do like the former, I had been dying to see MLIW, and their set was the most insane thing I have ever witnessed.

Will, if you get a chance to see Converge, don't miss out. I can understand thinking they're sort of boring on record, but live they will absolutely fucking blow you away. Anyone who's ever seen them live can attest to that.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Amen... Municipal Waste are probably the best metal-type band going right now.

Modern Life Is War are cool, too. The rest of these bands are just... Too "eh." Converge on record is kind of boring, I bet live they are awesome, though. Same with Shai Hulud. With Honor are great live, but I wouldn't pay to see them again and too many bands are doing their sort of Youth Crew thing these days.


Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

I don't usually say anything negative about reviews, but you fail for not even talking about municipal waste

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

hey hobbitcore im from miami too i think i saw that show youre talking about...was it the last time converge played here with municipal waste?

skankin_in_the_pit (November 29, 2005)

So many words and none of them are describing Municipal Waste's set. Score is for that.

Anchors (November 29, 2005)

Hmmm, I guess it could have been Sprite or Mello Yello, but I was pretty sure it was Mt. Dew. Either way, it was delicious.

And as far as Hulud's status, it honestly changes so often. Geert is in Europe right now, he was flown out for just that show. Their drummer lives in California, and was also flown out just for that show, and the guitarist, Matt Fox, and the two other members currently live in Poughkeepsie. They might play another show here and there, or they may never play another show, because some of the members have started up The Warmth Of Red Blood, who are currently in the writing process. But who knows what will come of that.

hobbitcore (November 29, 2005)

I have been foiled in my attempts to see Converge like 5 times. I want to see them soooo badly. I wish they would just play Petitioning the Empty Sky and Jane Doe track for track all the way through at every show. That would be sweet.

That would actually suck a lot. Not to mention it would be like an hour and a half set.

darkstarm (November 29, 2005)

i think mcdonalds has the coke affiliation cause they have powerade.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

wait, i thought shai hulud was broken up? can someone please explain that band's status to me?

Sirens (November 29, 2005)

Anchors, Mt Dew at Burger King? I thought Burger King was affiliated with Coke.

Benjasauruss (November 29, 2005)

I have been foiled in my attempts to see Converge like 5 times. I want to see them soooo badly. I wish they would just play Petitioning the Empty Sky and Jane Doe track for track all the way through at every show. That would be sweet.

superdude (November 29, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Imagine Jacob Bannon's neck tattoo of a bird came alive!

2. Did the band ever talk about that?

3. I ran out of money and put Coke in my gas tank. You could have saved $20

4. You mean "Seeing Shai Hulud, Converge, With Honor, Modern Life Is War, the Banner, the Red Chord, and Darkest Hour all in a day: Priceless"

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Damn, I would have loved to be at this show. With Honor, MLIW and Shai Hulud.... dang.

hobbitcore (November 29, 2005)

The first time I saw them, I expected it to be the best show ever and I was pretty disappointed with their performance...not really disappointed cuz they were amazing but I expected more...the setlist wasn't that great either:

First Light
Eagles Become Vultures
The Broken Vow
Drop Out
Hope Street
You Fail Me
Towing Jehovah
Last Light
The Saddest Day

lots of You Fail Me, only one Jane Doe song...decent old tune selection though...Towing Jehovah was sick

the second time I saw Converge I expected awesomeness but nothing life-changing...it ended up being, hands down, the best show I've ever seen in my life...the setlist was:

First Light
Eagles Become Vultures
The Broken Vow
Drop Out
Hope Street
Bitter and Then Some
Heaven in Her Arms
My Great Devastator
Last Light
Jane Doe

fucking incredible

Archangel (November 29, 2005)

Converge still holds the position of "Best Live Band I've Ever Seen" in my book.

hobbitcore (November 29, 2005)

not Homewrecker...I meant Hell to Pay...that's amazing that they played that

hobbitcore (November 29, 2005)

holy fucking shit...Homewrecker and Lowest Common Denominator!!!

johnnydanger (November 29, 2005)

i live within walking distance of the venue and my favorite band of all time is converge. and i didnt go. that tells you how bad this joke of a "fest" was

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Use to be a member of Shai Hulud

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

I guess I should go see Modern Life is War.Who's coming with me.

Anchors (November 29, 2005)

He recorded with them for 'Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion.'

Geert recorded their second album, I'm forgetting the name.

Damien Moyal recorded their first demo/EP.

And my bad on forgetting what the first song was, it was a loooooooong day.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Chad Gilbert from Nfg plays in Shai Hulud? am I right?

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Oh shut up, the review was fine.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Shai Hulud, without a doubt, started that set with Scornful of the Motives. Asides from that, decent review, good show.

theundergroundscene (November 29, 2005)

a few too many silly comparisons, but a very good read about some very good bands

i think geert is the best frontman hardcore music has seen in a LONG TIME

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

The most ridiculous review I've seen in my life.




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