[Live Review] NORTHLANE (Newcastle)

Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Saturday May 20, 2017 :

“Aussie metalcore” has well and truly become it’s own genre, similar to the alt-rock heyday of Cog, Karnivool and the Butterfly Effect. Tonight’s sold out show proved that it will be going strong for a long time to come. Special shout out in this review goes to the 2 massive dudes who picked me up from the floor at separate moments in the mosh pit. There’s a code of honor in the mosh at these gigs that keeps me coming back; watching blokes collide full speed in the mosh only to help each other off the floor is endearing is a crazy way.

Opening with ‘New Romantics’, Canberra’s Hands Like Houses were warmly received by the buzzing Newcastle crowd. The band’s third album Dissonants has easily been their biggest to date, and it was the cuts from this album that got the biggest response. Frontman Trenton has a great set of pipes, and his higher register clashes with the low end guitars in the best way. ‘Colourblind’ has an amazing breakdown which got the crowd moving, and ‘I Am’ finished off a great set.

Northlane are a very different band from when they started out, thanks in no small part to frontman Marcus Bridge. With their surprise 4th album Mesmer getting it’s first run of shows, the band are putting some intriguing new touches to their performances. Some interesting fashion choices (Marcus looks like Hillary Swank from Million Dollar Baby) also help the band’s new aesthetic stands out among the masses of metalcore bands, and anyone who thought replacing original frontman Adrian would be the end of the band have been proven wrong many times over. Marcus’ screams now rival Adrian’s, and the fact that he’s also an accomplished clean vocalist is impressive to say the least.

This was easily the loudest gig I’ve ever been to (my ears are still ringing days later!). Northlane’s bass heavy sound was overpowering in the mosh, pretty much drowning out the other dynamics of their newest tunes. The crowd (and myself) didn’t care much, and new songs ‘Paragon’ and ‘Colourwave’ kicked things off. The melodic ‘Leech’ was a highlight, before Trenton from Hands Like Houses joined the band onstage early for a rendition of ‘Rot’. Some of the sound issues had been worked out by this point (thankfully), and the texturing guitar work of main songwriter Jon got a chance to shine. Drummer Nic is an absolute powerhouse, and his intricate drum patterns definitely sit at the front of the band’s sound live in comparison to on record.

Then the old tunes got a showing. ‘Dispossession’ and ‘Dream Awake’ set the place on fire, and the band’s signature song ‘Quantum Flux’ finished off the main set with a bang. The band clearly weren’t mucking around for an encore, and were literally back on stage after 60 seconds to finish the set with ‘Obelisk’.

If you can’t tell by now, Northlane are my favourite Aussie band and keep going from strength to strength. Here’s hoping they get to hit the highs of bands like Parkway Drive in the future.

Reviewer : Matthew Glen
Photographer : David Liddell

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