Converge last night - for me, as always, ever so slightly disappointing. I apologise in advance for massively intellectualising the experience, but deal with it.
At one point Jacob commented on the fact that there was a barrier, and it made me realise why I always feel a bit disappointed seeing Converge live.
In larger venues, its not just barriers, but the height of the stage that sets up a slightly strange feeling - the band is above you, bearing down on you. They are clearly 'in power' and you need to submit to the force of their celebrity.
I was thinking about this when watching Isis the other week, especially in relation to their music about the Panopticon. It kind of works with Isis - "Always object, never subject...Always upon you, Light never ceases". You actually feel the music blazing down on you, or washing over you, 'oceanically'.
There's always more of a communal aspect to hardcore. It's totally more participatory. Converge's music particularly, is very much about emotional empathy - all the "this one's for the hearts still beating" etc.
Basically, to work properly, they'd have to be in a smaller venue where, for a start there are no windmilling cunts that stop you getting to the front - this is fundamentally not bullshit tough guy hardcore. You need to be able to see the whites of their eyes, and preferably, where they're not elevated too far above the audience.
An implicit understanding of this relation is lost in 'mainstream' hardcore. And this is why I tend to avoid it more nowadays. That and £3.30 a pint.