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Gig Review: Northlane + supports, Melbourne

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Northlane + August Burns Red + Like Moths To Flames + Ocean Grove
170 Russell, Melbourne
6 November 2015
Review by Alex Sievers
Photo by Matt Allan

Melbourne’s very own weird locals, Ocean Grove were first up and their set was solely comprised of material from their brilliant EP, Black Label. Songs like Backbone and You Know Something We Don’t? went off, and it was great to see these boys get a good reaction. Their brand of groovy nu-metal melding with noisy hardcore is definitely a winning combination me thinks.

Sadly, Buried In Verona had to pull out of the show, as they had their flights held up due to volcanic activity. Yikes. I found that to be a damn shame as I was really itching to hear the new songs – off Vultures Above, Lions Below – live, as it’s some of their best work to date. This all meant that Like Moths To Flames got to the stage earlier. If you have never heard LMTF before, look up a video on YouTube called How To Sign To Rise Records and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how they sound. I don’t think it’s bad; it’s just insanely generic. Every song just sounded the bloody same, from What’s Done Is Done to closer GNF, and don’t get me started on the terrible, angsty as f*ck lyrics. While I really appreciate the energy that the band brought to the stage, and to their credit, there were a lot of fans in attendance; I just wish their music was more exciting and engaging.

The band I was most keen for of this bill was August Burns Red, and they are a metalcore band, and yet at the same time, they’re not. Their solos, riffs, breakdowns, drum fills, vocals, and everything in-between screams “metalcore”, yet it’s been written with such care and in such a way that’s more diverse and more dynamic than most of their peers could ever hope to achieve, thus separating them from the ever-growing pack. They proved this with new songs like Martyr and Identity, and with fan-favourites White Washed and Empire. While they would have easily been headlining this exact tour had happened anywhere else but Australia, their set was superbly tight and a blast to watch. I just wish it was longer. Say another good hour or so.

Northlane – the band that practically everyone in the venue was there to see, took to the stage with the groovy and crushing Obelisk for one solid start. For the next hour or so, Australia’s next big thing (come on, they are) ran through their latest album, Node, with a few throwbacks to the Adrian Fitilpaldes era. Honestly, I was really craving that older material as that’s what I really prefer from the quintet, but seeing new songs like Soma, and Weightless live has sold me a little bit more on Node. Just a little bit. I still think it’s by far the weakest material from the band, but that’s another story for another time.

As one can imagine, the crowd went absolutely berserk for the headliner and that was great to see as I’ve seen Northlane play to about 50 people in Bendigo about three years ago. How goddamn far they’ve come now, aye? (Triple J definitely deserves some thanks for that).

Northlane’s light show, complete with triangle shaped floodlights, was surreal, dazzling and just really suited the atmospheric and ambient twist that their music has taken over the years. It was mesmerising.

I really do hope bigger and better things come from Northlane, namely an album that combines the best elements of Node with their first two and ultimately better records.


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