All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Converge Live @ Billboard, Melbourne

There are some gigs you know full well are going to be insanity personified days before you have even set foot in the venue. Tonight was most definitely one of those nights. I mean, listen to any track that these guys have recorded and magnify that energy ten-fold and see how you fare.

When you leave a gig battered, bruised, deafened and drenched in some liquid or another – and you’re there just as the photographer – something must have gone right… or wrong…

A packed Billboard greeted me on arrival and I quickly realised just how much I have missed shooting in this venue. For some reason or another, I had no shoots here for close to a year but for mine, this is the venue to be photographing a live act.

Openers Old Man Gloom had just kicked it into high gear as I made my way to the photo-pit. I thought they sounded fuckn amazing delivering a Sludge-laden blistering set. They were loud, tight and as raucous as you can get.

Old Man Gloom are a band made up of members of Isis, Cave In and Converge and after tonight’s showing, I quickly jotted down the name of their CD in my ‘To Buy’ list ‘cos I thought they were phenomenal.

It wasn’t too long after the Gloom’s set that Converge where ready to take the stage. As the band was sound checking on stage, lead crooner Jacob Bannon was walking in circles, beating his chest and looking like an AWOL disgruntled Vietnam vet. Uh oh, this is gonna get real interesting real soon!

I knew then and there that tonight was gonna be mightily hectic in the photo pit and to best be on guard at all times from fans and band alike!

And then it began. Jacob’s prancing became more maniacal and I found myself dodging the whipping mike lead several times over. The entire band poured forth an energy that was like something I have ever seen! (Well, maybe Dillinger Escape Plan come close… just!)

At one point I noticed a nice little opening at center stage so I quickly manoeuvred there to get some shots. Little did I know that this little area had been now owned by Jacob and I quickly realised this as I felt the full force of his foot push me away and then use my shoulder as leverage to get to the maniac fans behind me. Fuckn hell! This was war!

Rock and fuckn roll!


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