Converse have a way of targeting the music industry without making us feel like we are being forced to like their product. They do feature their shoes as an endless trend and it can be said that they are always trying to be a part of the current era. This effort is essentially why they are so with-it, especially with audiophiles. Other music collaborations tied to advertising may feel cheap. When you get Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 working on a track that is over ten minutes long and easily one of the best songs of that respective year, you’re doing something right. This year’s Converse Rubber Tracks tour is more faith restoring joy that not every company is clueless but still in charge due to its fortune. The pairing of Deafheaven and Programm was an absolute delight.
Programm are interesting because of their blends of different tempos. They are clearly shoegaze fans unafraid of telling the world this (as are the band they opened for), and they have a knack for bringing back the upbeat style of this genre bands like Lush were known for back in the day. Programm take it a step further with a groovy rhythm section that recalled Talking Heads during their middle years. Programm have calmer songs as well, yet it seems that they saved their catchier and more danceable songs for last. Was it a way to try and merge into Deafheaven’s eventual speedfest? Either way it worked.
Deafheaven were heavily delayed because members of the band were stuck in Boston. Keep in mind that the venue was already changed from Adelaide Hall to the Opera House due to a water leakage on the day of the show. These kinds of misfortunes are the ones Deafheaven thrive on when it comes to writing, recording and playing their highly emotional music. With the shortest soundcheck I can recall, the band rushed on stage, strummed and played a few notes and hits, and then left. Within a minute or two they were back once their lead-in music kicked in.
They played the very same set as the one they had last time they were at the Opera House. No problems here: it was a precise and well formulated list. Everyone was on top of their games as per usual, yet they all seemed uneasy and frustrated due to their bad luck that day. George Clarke, a man of few words live, expressed his many thanks for the people who came out to this free show. Somehow, I doubt it was as troublesome for us to get there as it was for them. Their anxieties got channeled into their music and they got more relaxed during the shows final moments. Clarke was his usual possessed self the entire show and he seemed the least affected; Perhaps this is because he could scream out his frustrations the entire hour. They just want to put on the very best show they can every single time, and they never disappoint. The mixing was a bit uneven during their set, but they didn’t exactly get the opportunity to mesh out any sound problems.
Time and sound issues aside, Rubber Tracks was a success. Converse paired up two artists that aren’t populating the radio airspace in hopes of exposing even more people to these two already-growing bands. They worked well together and made for a grand evening that could have gone on longer.