Review: Northlane @The Fleece, Bristol

Northlane have become one of the biggest names in Australian metal over the past 12 months. Their last visit to the UK saw them play Download festival and before that, a European stint with Aussie giants, Parkway Drive. This time they return on the European leg of their worldwide tour in support of their latest release, ‘Node’. Along for the ride were Volumes, The Acacia Strain and Hellions.

Opening tonight were Hellions, arguably the most hardcore band on tonights line-up, and one that certainly didn’t mind being the odd choice for this tech filled show. Bringing back vibes of the hardcore that tore across the UK scene a few years ago, it was clear that at heart, hardcore was still strong in the crowd. Hellions got the crowd off to an early bounce and a couple of warm up pits. An awesome warm up act, and it was great to see such a receptive crowd so early on.

With such a strong set of support acts, The Fleece was rammed from the start. Excitement really kicked off when The Acacia Strain hit the stage. They provided the most punishing of sets, comprised of their best material, with ‘Human Disaster’ and ‘Beast’ creating chaos among the crowd. This was one of the most brutal sets that I had witnessed in a long time, and one that was bound to make the following acts seem a little tame!

Next up were Volumes. Prior to this tour, tensions seemed high between Volumes and Northlane. Tweeting back and forth in offence, they seemingly broke the internet with fans up in arms. It seems it may have been a promotion stunt for the tour, but one that saw fans from both sides really backing each other. As Volumes took to the stage, the crowd erupted. Opening with ‘The Mixture’, the band threw themselves into a ‘Best Of Volumes set… a set that consisted of eight flawless tracks. Four songs in, and they played crowd pleaser, ‘Erased’. With Michael Barr unable to do this tour, it was down to The Contortionist’s Michael Lessard, to take on Volumes clean vocal sections. For his first UK show as a covering vocalist, he was received with open arms, and seemed to be having the time of his life on stage tonight. Destroying both clean and growl section, he certainly brought his ‘A’ game to the performance. It was a great set all round, and one that saw the crowd disappointed when it came to an all-to-soon end… but forgiven by a performance of the final song, ‘Wormholes’.

To finish up an incredible night of live music… Northlane. Since the release of ‘Node’, Northlane have been on a rise to success. A year after their first UK tour with Parkway Drive, they return on their first set of headline shows in the UK. This is one of the best tours to hit the UK this year, and one that will not be forgotten. As they took to the stage, it was clear that this was sure to be an epic set. With a huge amount of lighting on stage, as well as CO2 cannon, the production of this show made it a sight to be seen. Opening with ‘Obelisk’, the band set about tearing up the stage, and show their ability to provide an unbelievable live show. From the first note, the crowd were tearing up The Fleece, and before the first verse had even kicked in, the stage diving began… sometimes a little excessively. The stage invasion was real, and vocalist Marcus seemed shocked by the amount of support and energy flowing throughout this tiny venue. The set consisted mainly of tracks from ‘Node’, but a few fan favourites from ‘Singularity’ and ‘Discoveries’ made the cut. It was great to see Marcus take on these songs live after the departure of former vocalist Adrian. Playing tracks like ‘Rot’, ‘Scarab’, ‘Dream Awake’, and ‘Masquerade’, the band created an atmosphere that had the whole crowd in arms and singing along to every word. A stunning reaction for the band’s first headline show in the UK, and one that hopefully got them excited enough to make a return in the very near future. As the set, and the evening, came to a close, the band took to the crowd and left in a sea of applause. Stunned, shocked, and exhilarated, the crowd left The Fleece and the remains of an incredible night rang out in the ears of fans. The energy can be summed up by and overheard comment from one member of the departing crowd: “Did you hear the guy who dislocated his knee?”

Pure carnage.

I would suggest to you that Northlane are a band to be witnessed live. The recordings does not do their live ability justice. It truly is a force to be reckoned with. The ‘Node’ Tour moved on to Manchester, and on to the last two dates in London and Southhampton. They’ll then head back to mainland Europe, before conquering Australia and North America for the rest of the year. Relentless touring from an incredible band. If you can, get to a show. You will not regret it.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”32″ gal_title=”Northlane Node Tour””]

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Review and Photography: Siôn Roe


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