Check out our interview with Erra before the show here
Metalcore has long been a dirty word in metal circles due to oversaturation and decline in quality, but things have been slowly changing with a new breed of bands, and Northlane is certainly one of them. The Australian 5 piece have just finished their UK tour in support of their latest album Mesmer, and I managed to catch them on their Leeds date at the Key Club.
The gig was originally scheduled to be at the larger capacity venue of the Stylus, but for whatever reason (probably ticket sales) was downgraded to the smaller, more intimate setting of the Key Club. Because of this, the Key Club was absolutely packed, even before the first band Ocean Grove (8) were due on. Ocean Grove was definitely an interesting addition to the bill, but luckily they absolutely smashed it. They play loud, energetic and bouncy metalcore tinged nu-metal, and were perfect for getting the crowd warmed up. I’d recommend checking them out, as its all a bit ridiculous, but also a lot of fun, which is good too see in a scene that often takes itself too seriously.
Invent, Animate (5) were up next and they were fine, if a little repetitive. Playing progressive metalcore they definitely fit on the bill, but they ultimately failed to engage on the same level that Ocean Grove did. Especially with the high caliber of the bands that followed, that songs just didn’t have the impact and I found it difficult to remember a song afterward, as it all seemed to blend into one. They had a good crowd though and the people up front were enjoying it, but it wasn’t for me.
Main support came from ERRA (7) who while also play a blend of technical-progressive metalcore, do just that little bit extra to stand out. While the whole clean/harsh vocal combo is getting a little stale it works well here, and main man and screamer J.T really engages with the crowd well. The songs from last years album Drift sound great, and the bound sounded tight.
While the previous bands got a good response (especially ERRA), you could tell that anticipation was in the air for Northlane (8). In a venue that is smaller than maybe the band are used to, it was definitely a bonus for the audience to see them in such an intimate venue. With more than a few albums under their belt now it was quite a varied setlist with a good mixture of old and new. Was sad to see only one song played from the last album which is my favorite of theirs, but that’s personal preference. The band sounded and played great and the crowd loved them with pits aplenty, and Marcus showing off what a fantastic frontman he is. Not to discredit the rest of the band who all sounded great and had their own personalities on stage. With such a packed venue I am surprised at the decision to downgrade, but it will certainly be the last time they play such a small setting on these shores. Until next time Northlane!