The Five Most Insane Bands to See Live Right Now

Categories: Live Shots

ConvergeNathanSmith.jpg
Photo by Nathan Smith
Converge
I don't know about most people, but my favorite thing about seeing a band live is the energy. I just can't get enough of the frenetic intensity that pervades shows and runs back and forth between the manic audience and the performer, even if the actual playing is off because of it.

When a performer is bored or listless, even if they get all the notes right, it kills me. I guess that's why I like seeing punk rock bands more than folk artists.

Sometimes it can be hard to find that ultimate bit of pure magic, though. There's plenty of bands that bring the right vibe to the table, but it's a lot harder to find the kind of band I like the most: a group that are like cracked out acrobats playing heavy, fast music. I have, fortunately, found a few that I follow devotedly every time they play in Texas, and here are five who do that best.


5. Touche Amore
One of the best post-hardcore bands to come out in years, and one of the most energetic bands out there today, Touche Amore perfectly employs the classic sounds of "emo" (before it turned into pop-punk) and hardcore to make incredible two-minute bursts of lightning in musical form.

Their live shows are absolutely awesome and feature groups of hundreds of kids chanting every single word, the band going nuts, and lots of crowd surfing and stage diving. In other words, Touche Amore in 2013 is everything that was great about live punk shows in the '80s. They were one of the best bands at last year's Free Press Summer Fest, and hopefully they'll be back in Houston soon enough.


4. Trash Talk
When it comes to Trash Talk, the band loses it, the audience loses it, everyone loses it. No one is left standing still and those that are often get knocked out. Literally. I've seen it happen.

If you can handle the inherent danger in being in the audience for a Trash Talk show though, it's one of the most fun live experiences out there. And much credit to front man Lee Spielman, who gives every single show his all, even when he has a broken leg like at their highlight of SXSW show this year.


3. Converge
Converge aren't quite the acrobats onstage, but their intensity and passion is almost unrivaled. Front man Jacob Bannon's connection with fans is unparalleled, and the emotion that pours through in each and every performance he gives is overwhelming. Take this performance in Paris, for instance where Bannon can hardly keep himself together during "Jane Doe.

With music as crushing and affecting as Converge's, it would seem hard to sustain such unbridled enthusiasm. One would think the misery would eventually give way to boredom, but as outlined in my review of Converge's Houston show in 2012, they have not lost a step over the years.


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58 comments
Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

All of those bands may have lots of energy but the music is a joke.

randmc333
randmc333

With all these lists, Houston Press is starting to look a lot like VH1.  

freenyona
freenyona

I've seen pretty much all of the bands mentioned in the blog and the comments, and I wanted to throw these guys into the mix: Monotonix. Just do a Google Image Search, that should be enough.

ProperPat
ProperPat

Agree with 4 of five of these.... What is this B L A C K I E garbage...? Not interesting... at all.

Trav08
Trav08

I created an account just to comment on this article... How is THE CHARIOT not on this list!!!

primarilyben
primarilyben

I feel like The Chariot didn't make this list because they aren't obscure enough. 

Lame.

prgsvr
prgsvr

hmm.. how about Butcher Babies?

TheDocument
TheDocument

BLACKIE is utter shit. Any dumb kid can shreik random crap into a mic over awful Casio keyboard loops. It's insane that anyone would consider his "performances" worth seeing.

GhostsxShadow
GhostsxShadow

Letlive. would have to be up there.  Touche' Amore' I would put at number 1.  Their shows are something to behold.  They are nonstop.  Super polite guys too.  I agree with most except B L A C K I E. 

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

G.g. Allan and the murder junkies @ the axiom

Dave
Dave

Would someone please explain B L A C K I E to me? The reason those French guys are just standing around clueless is because that "performance" was T E R R I B L E...

poopshoot_2007
poopshoot_2007

You haven't seen many bands if you think these are the most insane.

andypuls
andypuls

This is the best damn article the Houston Press has published in months, thank you.  

I broke my arm in the cancer bats pit while they covered sabatoge on the 18th @ fitz, that show was a good one, but not super well attended, they only had the downstairs with Kvelertak as the headliner. 

We need more small venue excellent hardcore coming to this city, music festivals blow. 

jon.hughes001
jon.hughes001

I've seen the Chariot quite a few times; it wasn't chaotic at all. Maybe it was just the wrong crowd or something. Don't know.  


Converge and DEP are definitely high up on the list. Melt-Banana and the Locust are also very high up. The Locust is non-stop insanity.  

missingno2005
missingno2005

I clicked just to check The Dillinger Escape Plan were first on the list. Good job.

Also, I saw Converge last year at Resurrection Fest, and being my favourite band it was somewhat dissapointing. Not as intense as I expected. It was good, nonetheless, just not as much as I hoped it would be.

joshwebster
joshwebster

I saw Converge open for Dethklok at the then-called Verizon Theater and they were TERRIBLE. Good guitar tones but the vocals were AWFUL. Forget intelligible lyrics, that dude belted out nothing but monosyllabic barking sounds the whole set. "BLACH BLACH BLACH BLACH!!!! (riff riff riff) BLACH BLACH BLAH!! (riff riff riff). Terrible. 

CoreyDeiterman
CoreyDeiterman

@freenyona Unfortunately, they broke up. Great band though.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@GhostsxShadow Letlive. is pretty rad.  Jason's way cool, too.  Hell, after meeting him once, the dude recognized me like eight months later.  Not something ya get all the time.

GhostsxShadow
GhostsxShadow

@jon.hughes001  The Locust aren't on there because they aren't a band anymore.  The Blood Brothers were another great act to see live.

chriskanski
chriskanski

@missingno2005 That's often the case at festivals, unfortunately, it takes a special kind of band to command a greater stage. Though I did see Converge at a fairly large venue in London and they blew away every head in the room.

joshwebster
joshwebster

Yeah, I guess I just like music that sounds good when you listen to it. I'm just funny like that.

missingno2005
missingno2005

@joshwebster Yeah, that's a shame, specially when they have such GREAT lyrics, but as the guy above me said, that's part of Converge, and I have learned to like it. It's raw emotion, pure feelings.

That happened to me with Magrudergrind, too.

chriskanski
chriskanski

@joshwebster You don't understand Converge. 
Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing - when I picked up my first Converge album at 15, I put it down and didn't pick it up again for three months.
But when you listen to the chaotic screaming, and you really look at the artwork, and you really let your mind wander, you begin to understand. Converge's music isn't about the description of feeling, it's purely emotion translated into music. 
When I saw them live, every single person was in Jacob Bannon's head, we were all living the music, not just listening to it.

freenyona
freenyona

@CoreyDeiterman Ah, yes... "Right Now". And I didn't realize they had broken up. That's no bueno. Glad I got to see them a couple of times, then.

danyingling
danyingling

@primarilyben this is the most ridiculous thing i have ever read. and i like both of the bands.

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