The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
October 12th, 2019
Support: Counterparts, Silent Planet and Void of Vision,
Eclectic; the word makes me cringe because I feel like one of those people who often use it but in reality have never strayed from their comfortable commercial station (no shade, but your taste isn’t eclectic, Karen). Instead, I will say my music taste has a reasonably wide range; I like some hip hop, I love the old classics like Cold Chisel and The Whitlams, and my heart belongs to the screamo bands of the 2000s. I have always leant towards the heavier end of my taste, and as I get older, my taste is getting even heavier. Whenever I go to a show for a heavy band, walking in and seeing the black band shirts always makes me want to throw my arms wide and exclaim “ah, my people”, those are the shows I feel most accepted, welcome and comfortable. The Northlane gig at The Triffid on Saturday was no exception.
Walking through the live room doors at The Triffid, I was greeted by the biggest crowd for an opener I have ever seen there, maybe even any gig I’ve been to (big call). People are into Void of Vision, and it’s not hard to see why. I have to admit to being a noob to Void of Vision, and this is something I will be fixing. I get massive FOMO seeing people singing along to all the songs and so many people were screaming along with Void of Vision, I was pretty jealous. As soon as the band tore onto the stage and started with ‘Year of the Rat’, vocalist Jack Bergin instructed the crowd to ‘’open this fucking pit up” and open it up they did. The energy was insane from the very first second and only increased throughout the set. At one stage, the band had the pit take up most of the live room which is no small feat. I have been to many a heavy show, and I have witnessed many a pit, but I’ve never seen one in The Triffid, and it is an impressive sight. This set had the energy of a headlining set, and by the end, I was so pumped and sweaty. The band played their hearts out like a headliner, and I can’t wait to see them again as soon as I can.
Next up was Silent Planet and I have to be honest and say that the incredible, manic energy that Void of Vision built up, waned a little. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are incredible, and their set was still ferocious, but they are just a bit more serious and the subject matter of their songs (mental health, racial injustices and religion) lends to a more sombre experience. The band also seemed to struggle to get into their stride for a few songs and the timing seemed off, they did find it eventually though. Their sound and vocalist Garret Russell’s delivery reminds me of something along the lines of La Dispute, and while I did still enjoy their set, it was just such a shame that the energy came down a bit. Maybe Silent Planet could have opened or perhaps they just weren’t the right fit for this bill. I would really like to see them in a show of their own or with bands closer to their brand of metalcore. A highlight in this set was ‘Panic Room’ which is about PTSD and starts small (or at least as small as these guys can get) and builds. I am lucky enough not to have experienced panic disorder, but I have anxiety and have experienced debilitating panic attacks. I felt this song conveyed that feeling well and it felt like a fight against the all-consuming panic.
If the energy waned a little, Counterparts didn’t have to work too hard to build it back up. Their demands for a pit started from the first song and continued for the whole frenzied set. Nothing brings a smile to my face more than hearing a band scream “circle pit, circle pit”. I am much too scared to actually get into a pit but watching them makes me so happy. Can I take a minute to say that the kids (yes I’m old) in the pit were relentless and express how in awe of them I was? The same people were in every single pit throughout the night, and their energy never wavered. The only disappointing thing about this set was when vocalist Brendan Murphy mentioned having a drink after the show and the cringe-inducing chant of “shoey, shoey” started. People, Browny has talked about this; it needs to stop! Murphy jokingly stated that if he received a shoe with ten dollars from everyone in the crowd, he would drink anything out of any shoe, but until that time he would decline. He is a funny guy, and I enjoyed watching the transition from cracking jokes to growling vocals.
Even though it took three bands to get to the main act, it didn’t feel like we had to wait too long, the show was unbelievably punctual, and Northlane took to the stage exactly when they were supposed to. The first three songs were a hard-hitting ‘Talking Heads’, ‘Intuition’ and ‘Details Matter’. The crowd immediately erupted, and the mosh took up much of the crowd. After the first three belters was ‘Jinn’ which had its live debut at Sydney’s show on Friday. The set was packed with songs from Alien (to be expected on the Alien tour) with nine out of 14 songs coming from the album which has seen them grow exponentially in style and technicality. I am really into the EDM fusion the band have gone with for Alien (remember that wide range of music taste, I’ve dabbled in EDM and even attended a number of Stereosonics back in the day) and really enjoyed watching masked and feathered (check out photos to see what I mean) Jon Deiley switch between guitar and DJing. ‘4D’ is my favourite song from Alien, and it was such a highlight in this set. It is so fast, and the breakdowns in it are amongst my favourite of any song at the moment. The best part of this song is the final pre-chorus where the guitars quieten, and Marcus Bridge’s soaring vocals sing “took the world away from you”, and then the final guitar breakdown erupts. That was just as incredible live as it is on the album.
The set also included classics ‘Citizen’, ‘Obelisk’ and ‘Rot’ from earlier albums Mesmer and Node and the final song of the night in the encore was ‘Quantum Flux’ from Singularity. ‘Bloodlines’, the now well know first single of Alien, was the final sprint before the small break leading into the encore. ‘Bloodlines’ is about a rough childhood, something I relate to, and I connected with it instantly when it was released. It was incredible to scream the lyrics along with the rest of the crowd and get caught up in it all. Speaking of the encore, the first song of it was ‘Sleepless’ which gave the crowd the chance to catch their breath before the insanity of ‘Quantum Flux’. Bridge came out wearing an awesome shiny jacket that I can only describe as a mirror-ball hoodie, for this song.
The set was such a fun, sweaty time, the crowd sang every word, and the energy was relentless (have I said energy enough yet?). My only small gripe is the sound. The Triffid’s high, plane-hangar roof is perfect for heavy gigs; the whole venue swells with the intense sound of the guitars, drums and growls. The only problem was most of the melodic vocals became lost in this cacophony of noise. This wasn’t a problem for Northlane because Bridge does the melodies and growls (let’s appreciate that talent) and his sound was perfect. I am not going to pretend I have any idea about sound engineering, but can we please give the singers the sound they deserve and not let them be drowned out by everything else? I’ve given Alien many listens since its release (our 10/10 review here), especially ‘Bloodlines’ and ‘4D’ but I would admit I was only a casual listener in the past. After this show, Northlane can count me as one of their many fans.
Gig Review By Caitlin MacDonald @caitmacca
Revisit frontman Marcus Bridge chatting all things Alien on our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast right here
Alien Australian Tour
with Counterparts, Silent Planet and Void of Vision
Northlane – Alien Australian Tour
with Counterparts, Silent Planet & Void of Vision
Thursday 17 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne – SOLD OUT Friday 18 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne – SOLD OUT Saturday 19 October – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide – SOLD OUT Sunday 20 October – Capitol, Perth – SOLD OUT