This past Saturday, August 24, Vans launched ‘The Spirit of DIY’ at the House of Vans Chicago. And, who better than Jake Bannon of Converge to curate the launch? Bannon embodies the punk rock DIY ethos – from his art to his impact on music. He’s an icon in the punk/hardcore genre. Notably, his classic Jane Doe design is arguably on its way to becoming as iconic as the Misfits Crimson Ghost (yeah, I said it). Together with Thomas Hooper, they created one of a kind silk screen prints on-site that were screened and hung to dry during the show.
Opening the night was Chicago’s very own Djunah. Prior to, I knew nothing about the band, except for a quick sampling of their music that I did on my way to the show. To my surprise, this heavy riffing female-led group packs one hell of a punch, for a two-piece outfit. Donna Diane (vocals, guitar, and moog bass) along with Nick Smalkowski (drums) are sure to make waves in the scene. Their album Ex Voto was recorded by Kurt Ballou (Converge), and is being released on November 1.
In between bands, I scoped out the scene to watch the silk screen process with awe. At around 9pm Cloud Nothings hit the stage. These guys never fail to impress, they already have such a great body of work. That night just happened to be Dylan Baldi’s (lead singer) 28th birthday. Their eight-song set list was made up mostly of songs from their latest album Last Building Burning, but they didn’t hold back in screaming their way through a sampling of songs from their previous albums. This is definitely a band you want to see live if you ever have the opportunity.
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for…CONVERGE. It’s really difficult to describe a Converge show, so I’ll do my best. They prefer to perform with no barricades, which made my job as a photographer that much more exciting. They welcome crowd surfers on stage for a dive or the ever so brave: Headwalk (look it up if you’ve never seen this). They started the set with my current favorite song A Single Tear, from their latest album The Dusk In Us. The band’s high energy, adrenaline-filled set didn’t let up for a single beat. If you’ve never seen or heard Converge, just search for one of their live sets. It will all make sense….
All in, I loved every moment of my experience. It’s safe to assume that everyone in the venue had a great time, too, from the fans that waited in seemingly never-ending line, to the security guards (no joke, nicest security I’ve ever encountered).
Now, go listen to Converge and thank me later.
Words/Visuals: Joe Naranjo