With Cave In, Between The Buried And Me And Colin Of Arabia

Michael Henningsen
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Thursday, Oct. 7; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): About 12 years ago, a quartet of angry teenagers got together in someone's Boston garage to take their various shit out on some musical instruments. It wasn't long afterward that the group, now collectively calling themselves Converge, began releasing hardcore albums that spun in all kinds of interesting directions. Using a hardcore foundation as a springboard, vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller leap headlong into the outer extremes of genres spanning metal, thrash, classic punk, progressive hardcore and avant noise. The mix is nothing short of breathtaking, as is made crystal clear on the band's latest platter, You Fail Me (Epitaph).

There's enough punk here to please even the most staunch among jack-booted, mowhawked throwbacks and enough metal to get the black T-shirt-clad extremists' fists pumping. In other words, Converge represent the whole package. Not to be missed!

Ska Brawl Tour 2004 Featuring The Toasters, New Blood Revival, Danny Winn & The Earthlings, Made In Bangladesh

Friday, Oct. 8; Launchpad (all ages, 9 p.m.): Ska Brawl Tour 2004: Formed on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1981, The Toasters picked up the torch abandoned when seminal ska label 2-Tone Records went belly-up and helped carry it into the third wave of ska, along with bands like Bim Skala Bim, The Untouchables and Fishbone, among others. And while arguments abound over exactly which “wave, of ska we're currently enjoying, there's at least a little bit of The Toasters' sound in every band from Mighty Mighty Bosstones to Voodoo Glow Skulls.

But unlike their many and widespread contemporaries who've adopted West Coast punk underpinnings for their brands of ska, The Toasters maintain the Rude Boy ethos they helped re-usher in back when MTV was still suckling on the new wave teet and many of us were dressing in black and wearing uncomfortable shoes for reasons we did not completely understand. The rest of you probably weren't even born yet.

But whether you came up with The Toasters, heard about them from the periphery of your particular crowd or are reading about them now for the first time, they're as good a current band as any to represent the essence of ska's first, second and third waves, and actually better than any other I can think of.

Bleeding Through With Walls Of Jericho, Martyr A.d. And It Dies Today

Monday, Oct. 11; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): For my money, I'd switch the lineup a little bit, with Martyr A.D. and Bleeding Through opening for Walls of Jericho and It Dies Today, but that's just my personal taste. All four bands are guaranteed to blast you out of your athletic socks, but I've begun to lean more toward metal than hardcore these days, and both It Dies Today and Walls of Jericho really shizzle my nizzle. Both bands, along with Bleeding Through (and the absolutely amazing Poison the Well) are part of the Trustkill Records stable and have recent, bone-crushing CDs available.

It Dies Today's The Caitiff Choir, in particular, could be the soundtrack to the apocalypse ushered in two and a half years ago by George “It's Incredibly Hard Work” Bush, with classic-sounding metal guitars and melodic structures so monstrous they'll make your ears bleed and your brain spin in its bony canister. A show to kill or die for.

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