Northlane just dropped the most progressive and personal record of their career, Alien. Tonight they threw the loudest intimate gathering of all time to celebrate, inviting Melbourne fans to a free entry show, with no presale, no tickets and no barrier. Attendance was a no brainer and the line stretching from the Smith St venue all the way up neighbouring Gertude St confirmed most of Melbourne wanted to accept the invitation.
Emerging from somewhere within the mass of the 150 odd bodies lucky enough to have secured entry into the TINY Yah Yah’s bandroom, the Sydney metalcore monoliths stormed the stage with ferocious renditions of “Talking Heads” and “Intuition” ensuring the party got off to a suitably headbanging start. Frontman Marcus Bridge has discussed openly how much of himself went into creating Alien and you could see the emotional intensity in every syllable as he tore through “Details Matter”, as his bandmates thrashed away creating a powerful display of music as a cathartic outlet.
Guitarists John Deily and Josh Smith have mastered the art of using guitar to manipulate atmosphere and as the opening notes of “Obelisk” rang out, the energy in the room shifted and the crowd exploded into an impassioned choir, to the visible delight of bassist/ human energizer bunny Brendon Bradjesek. Drummer Nic Pettersen might be the sneaky MVP of every Northlane show and “Rot” saw the floor open up during the crushing breakdowns, with Marcus playing conductor to the orchestra of chaos before him. The groove laden lead single “Bloodline” kept bodies moving, with the progressive yet anthemic pair of “4D” and “Freefall” a thunderous “Vultures” and a moody “Eclipse” putting the diversity and depth of Alien on full display. For anyone who might be worried that the experimentation of Alien might not translate live, can rest assured these songs sound fucking AMAZING live.
Departing the stage temporarily to a raucous call for an encore, Northane returned seemingly intent on decimating the venue. They delivered a knockout combo of fan favourite “Dispossession” and signature track “Quantum Flux” that saw the room transform into an entangled mass of flailing limbs and violently nodding heads. Mission accomplished.
As fans filed out of the cramped room into the cold Melbourne winter air, many held with them souvenirs in the form of limited edition merch and vinyl from the pop-up store, and all wore the smile of a person who knew they’d just been to the best party ever.
Alien is out now.