WORDS: James Weaver, PHOTOS: Katie Needham
They say you should never replace your vocalist as it loses the identity of the band. Yet for Australia’s Northlane the addition of Marcus Bridge has only strengthened the band’s dominance of the metalcore world. On the back of the incredibly successful Node which was released earlier this year, the band have embarked on their first headline tour of the UK. But would Northlane’s excellent studio sound transition well in a live environment?
Deathcore act THE ACACIA STRAIN took to the stage first and offered a side order of brutality which went down a treat with the packed venue. The American five piece have been on the scene for over a decade now and still in support of last year’s Coma Witch, the band delivered a setlist that packed a truly painful punch. Riffs were massive, breakdowns initiated carnage and Vincent Bennett‘s powerful vocal deliveries showcased both authority and fear. They may be the heaviest band on the bill but THE ACACIA STRAIN were relentless, leaving no room for error, they more or less matched their studio sound. Very impressive indeed.
Los Angeles’ VOLUMES seem to go in hand in hand with NORTHLANE. With a similar sound, similar rhythm and emphasis on a combination of harsh and clean vocals, on paper the band seemed the perfect fitting for supporting NORTHLANE. Unfortunately their execution was incredibly poor with the band failing to deliver on their promises. Through sloppy lead riffwork from Diego Farias, poor harsh vocal deliveries from Gus Farias, whose arrogance on stage left a sour taste. With the band’s six song setlist comprised largely from last year’s No Sleep, it gave fans the chance to experience new material in a live setting and whilst they lapped it up with great appreciation, the execution failed to hit the mark. VOLUMES‘ set was incredibly underwhelming but there were moments of redemption, closing with Wormholes incited chaos throughout the venue with the band’s loyal fanbase more than participating with the vocal duties. Perhaps this was the stand out moment for VOLUMES but it certainly can be said that the band need to fine-tweak their live performances.
From the moment Obelisk‘s introduction crept through the speakers, NORTHLANE owned the stage. With the track’s huge chorus and breakdown executed in grand fashion, NORTHLANE set the tone for their performance from the off; chaotic yet flawlessly executed. With new vocalist Marcus Bridge at the helm, it came as no surprise that the band focused their set towards tracks from their most recent studio record, Node. Impulse, Rot, Soma and Obelisk all made a performance and matched NORTHLANE‘s excellent studio sound yet it was the deliveries of fan favourites where the band really shone.
For example, The Quantum Flux was performed to absolute perfection with the combination of Jon Deiley and Josh Smith‘s guitar work ebbing and flowing to the chaotic rhythm. The real star of the show however was Marcus Bridge, who easily matched Adrian‘s vocals from Singularity, and that is a real achievement. Not only that but Bridge owned the stage with real charisma, the sign of a true frontman who lives for the stage. It was a real pleasure to witness with Bridge taking every opportunity to involve the crowd who were on breaking point from the chaos of the mosh pit. By the time chaotic closer Masquerade had drawn to a close, it was more than clear that NORTHLANE are on the rise. This is a band who have gone from strength to strength and will only continue to improve as time marches on.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester below: