Tilly’s, Wagga Wagga NSW
November 17, 2022
Supports: Windwaker and Artifact
Northlane have had a fantastic year of touring their latest album Obsidian. They started in Albury in March, headlined at the Full Tilt Festivals and went on a tour featuring some huge internationals. Northlane decided to wrap up this year with a regional Australian tour, featuring Windwaker and local support at each show. To my surprise and joy, the first stop was Wagga Wagga, the former home of Windwaker. I was excited about this show and the opportunity to review it, as my very first review was at the Albury Northlane gig. Now I am writing my first review for Wall of Sound, for the same headliner in my hometown! The local supports for this show were upcoming metalcore group Artifact.
Artifact opened up the evening to a packed room of metal fans hungry to feel something. They began by playing two songs from their debut EP Unravel. Guitarists Andrew Atkinson and Hayden Rapley combined djent influences with big open choruses, punctuated by the screams of Michael Veneris and melodies of Bec Horseman. The band then delivered a powerful cover of ‘Holy Roller’ by Spiritbox, a band whose influences show in Artifact’s original work. We were treated to a couple of unreleased tracks too, starting with ‘Mass Psychosis’ which showcased bassist Nathan French’s skills. The set then got sad and heavy with the final track of the EP, ‘Persevere’. Michael requested that the crowd hold up their phone torchlights and swayed with the introductory melodies, creating a wholesome moment in the night where the joy was visible on everyone’s faces. Artifact closed with another heavy unreleased track ‘Collapse’. A clear favourite of the set, Harvey Saxton’s drumming elevated this song through a final breakdown, heightening crowd anticipation for the rest of the evening.
Coming off the back of their tour with Enter Shikari, Windwaker showed up to deliver a hometown set fronted for the first time by returning vocalist Liam Guinane. From the high octane opening of ‘Dopamine Freestyle’, the band controlled the crowd. The pit exploded and Wagga Wagga was excited to see the boys again on home turf. Liam was able to deliver across an incredible vocal range, particularly during the cover of ‘Toxic’ and ‘Beautiful’. Things switched up a little as we got to check out newest single ‘Left in the Dark’ for the first time. Clean vocals and boppy drums from Chris Lalic kept up the energy, alongside great samples by the new permanent addition to the Windwaker roster, Connor Robins. Indey Salvestro opened up ‘Me + You, But Mostly Me’ with precise delivery of signature bass riffs, before a singalong and throwback to ‘My Empire’. The crowd screaming “I’m not giving up, I’m not coming home”, always gets me emotional and I hope this track stays on Windwaker’s set for as long as possible. The band returned to more songs from debut album Love Language, and guitarist Jesse Crofts played the incredible riffs from ‘Hide & Seek’ with ease. ‘Nighthawk’ and ‘Superstitious Fantasy’ captured the unique Windwaker sound on stage more than any other song that night, causing the pit to reach new heights of energy. The band closed out their set with my all-time favourite Windwaker song and one of my songs of the year, ‘Lucy’. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in feeling rejuvenated and ecstatic as we sang along to the chorus. By the end of the final screams, we were eager and keen for Northlane.
When the lights dimmed and the synths of ‘Clarity’ began, there was a sense that the crowd was in for an experience. Northlane has made a superb choice in opening their set with this track, as it sets the scene before breaking into the heavy. Vocalist Marcus Bridge demonstrated his mastery at singing melodies and heavy screams as Northlane made their way through tracks from Obsidian, including ‘Plenty’, ‘Echo Chamber’, and ‘Xen’. Some favourites from Alien made their appearance throughout the set, beginning with ‘4D’. The signature guitar intro from guitarists Jonathon Deily and Josh Smith works so well live with the additional percussion and electronic backing tracks, insuring that ‘4D’ remains a core part of the current set. The crowd got rowdy and heavy when Northlane played ‘Carbonized’, before leading into a throwback with ‘Quantum Flux’. The energy of the crowd was constant throughout ‘Abomination’ and ‘Details Matter’, with live and backing electronics keeping the pit moving. Despite the smaller room and stage, Northlane constantly delivered an insane light show as the night progressed with ‘Cypher’, ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Obsidian’. Drummer Nic Pettersen shined when he played through ‘Talking Heads’, elevating the energy of the crowd alongside the rest of the band. Northlane then finished with one final release of movement, in ‘Clockwork’. Wagga Wagga knew it was their last chance to pit, and they pitted hard until the closing synths allowed for glorious applause for the award winning musicians on our small stage.
It was a pleasure to witness the first stop on this tour, where crowds and bands delivered in spades. From the beginning of the show, the floor was packed for local support in Artifact. Hometown legends in Windwaker were welcomed back with open arms and Northlane set a standard for shows in the area. Despite some merch hiccups, plenty of crowd goers were ready to support this stop in Regional NSW. Locals touted this show as a chance to demonstrate the power of the local metal scene, and after this turnout, Wagga Wagga will hopefully be considered in future as a stopping point for more shows.
This has marked the start of another incredible Northlane tour, and after the quality of performance, I’m sure they will continue to dominate the scene.
Written by Tyler Lubke @Huntsman42156
Northlane – Regional Australian Tour
with Windwaker + Local Supports