At this point of the 2020 Australian experience, the want for live music in our lives feels as pressing as the need for oxygen in our lungs. So when news filtered through that Sydney metalcore monoliths Northlane were set to host a two-night only streaming event, and we were going to get to see it early, well, let’s just say we got very excited indeed.
A pay-per-view streaming event set to take place on 21 and 22 August, ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ is a revelation. Shot on 14 cameras in pristine HD with the audio mixed and mastered by Alien engineer Chris Blancato, ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ captures Northlane at the peak of their powers as a live band, bringing their epic Alien World Tour to your living room with such effectiveness that you can almost feel the sweat of the person moshing next to you. If this isn’t enough to get you hyped, we’ve put together this list of five reasons why you need to pick up a ticket to see Northlane ‘Live at The Roundhouse’.
A career-defining performance
From the moment Northlane arrives on stage to a hero’s welcome and launch into a menacing rendition of ‘Talking Heads’ it is clear they are about to turn in a career-best show.fblodline
As frontman Marcus Bridge stalks the stage, he exudes unique energy, holding the Roundhouse crowd in the palm of his hands as his voice shifts seamlessly between soaring cleans and some outright filthy growls. Flanked by guitarist Jon Deiley and Josh Smith and bass player Brendon Padjasek, while drummer Nic Pettersen lords over the room on a riser behind, Northlane looks and sounds every bit the monster they project to be. It is an incendiary moment but it is just the first of many highlights in a set full of bangers.
As the likes of ‘Intuition’,‘Jinn’ ( making its live debut), ‘Rot’, ‘Citizen’, ‘4D’, ‘Obelisk’ and gargantuan closer ‘Quantum Flux’ come to life, you can feel the energy in every note. They’ve always been a good live band, but ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ is Nortlane fully realised, the final stage of metamorphosis taking place before your very eyes. They hit beast mode here and if you’re anything like us, your furniture will be at risk of copping a flailing limb or two mere moments in.
The incredible camerawork
‘Live At The Roundhouse’ was shot on 14 cameras, with the footage painstakingly edited together in a manner that not only ensures you SEE every moment of the epic set but that you FEEL it as well. Producer Neal Walters has delivered a world-class visual delight here, capturing not only the show but the vibe as well. The way the cameras cut between perspectives, from intimate shots of individual members to widescreen shots of the whole room, to shots taken from a crowd perspective and everything and anything in between, is the stuff of your concert film dreams. It is not enough to just film something, you need to know how and when to use it and Walters has outdone himself here, creating a truly immersive viewing experience, without sacrificing the energy or scope of the performance.
The awesome audio production
The audio on ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ is nothing short of awesome. Every single moment of this performance has been mixed and mastered to perfection, resulting in a dynamic sonic experience that pairs perfectly with the camerawork. Part of what makes live music so special is that it cannot ever truly be replicated, every show is a once in a lifetime experience, no two will ever be EXACTLY the same. Alien engineer Chris Blancato has done a masterful job of preserving this, ensuring that the nuance is heard in every note played, that Marcus’ every vocal inflection or bit of crowd banter is maintained, while also managing to preserve the passion of the audience response. The Alien material showcases Northlane’s musical growth in a studio environment, but ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ shows it with even more clarity, showcasing the way that the older material has also evolved. The ‘Quantum Flux’ of 2020, for example, is a vastly superior experience live than ‘Quantum Flux’ of 2013, the same goes for all of the older material in this set.
The lit AF light show
As anyone who attended the Alien World Tour can attest, Northlane really stepped things up on the lighting design front and ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ does a fantastic job of bringing the full experience of the stage show to life. From carefully cued C02 explosions during heavier moments, to otherworldly text effects, constantly changing colour patterns and even a few moments of total darkness, the lighting design does a superb job in supporting the musical narrative. The way the lights dim during the introduction to ‘Freefall’, then pulsate as the song grows, allowing for the chorus to explode out of a purple fog, is spectacular and is an example of lighting adding yet another layer of depth to the performance. The massive angular lights provide a rather Alien vibe to the whole show as well, tying album and presentation together beautifully. It’s kind of a hard thing to explain, you just have to see it, and that’s exactly what you can do with ‘Live At The Roundhouse’.
The heartbreaking exclusive performance of ‘Sleepless’
‘Live At The Roundhouse’ is full of revelatory performances for Northlane. None are as emotive, essential or exclusive as the penultimate track ‘Sleepless’. Performed live for the first and only time in the band’s history, ‘Sleepless’ sees vocalist Marcus Bridge confront his life’s most harrowing experience, backed by a band who you sense have his back for life and fans who would follow him to the ends of the earth. Dressed in a sequined jacket, Bridge stands, in the middle of the stage and sings his damn heart out to the point of tears.
A lot has been made of the personal struggles that Bridge recounts and works through on Alien but nothing will ever adequately prepare you to SEE an artist fight through trauma, to witness them cleanse themselves with art and deliver a transcendent performance. Marcus Bridge does that here and thanks to ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ we can all see it for ourselves so that he doesn’t have to do it again. I’ve seen Northlane countless times, and Bridge is a standout frontman, but nothing he has ever done live has impacted me in the way this rendition of ‘Sleepless’ does. Dim your lights, stand up close to your TV and when he hits that final chorus, let the tears run down your face. WOW.
There you have it, five reasons why you need to check out Northlane ‘Live At The Roundhouse’. On August 21 or 22, move your coffee table to the side, turn up the volume, grab a beverage and get ready to activate the mosh pit as you watch ‘Live At The Roundhouse’ we did, and it was spectacular.
The online events are set to take place on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd August via Netgigs. For Aussie fans, there’s a stream taking place at 8pm AEST both nights. Head here for tickets.