It was a proud, surreal moment for many a Northlane fan walking into the 2,000-capacity Roundhouse, knowing their hometown heroes had ascended to a new tier in their career. It seems like only yesterday we were watching them play to 300 kids in mosh shorts at their local Masonic hall – how time flies!
Melbourne up’n’comers Ocean Grove have built up a considerable hype since their EP, Black Label, dropped last year, and with good reason – their unique blend of nu metal, post-hardcore and grunge translated well on the Roundhouse stage and their tight musicality was impressive for such a young band. Clearly stoked to be there, they made mention of the surreal feeling of playing the same stage on which Parkway Drive filmed their DVD, before engaging the crowd in bouncing hip hop hands to the opening bars of “Cold Skin”.
Bouncing back with their fifth album, Vultures Above, Lions Below, and three new members in their line-up, Buried In Verona have proven this year that it’s never too late to turn things around. Their more anthemic new material was much better suited and more convincing in the large room than in the small clubs they played on their album tour in September, and the band’s new members appeared comfortable on stage having a few tours under their belt. Vocalist Brett Anderson has had his work cut out for him, now doing his fair share of clean singing as well as screaming, and while his performance was not always pitch perfect he did an admirable job of juggling the two considering how recently he’s stepped up to the plate.
Though the crowd seemed less familiar with Like Moths To Flames’ output than the other bands, they were still content to jump around, matching the band’s energy. This Ohio crew have been to our shores a couple of times before but are still yet to fully crack the market, so this may be the tour that steps them up. There’s no attempt to reinvent the metalcore wheel here, but Like Moths To Flames put on an enjoyable set that will at least have cemented their name more solidly in the minds of Australian audiences.
Taking to the stage all guns blazing with classic crowd fave “White Washed”, August Burns Red brought the energy and intensity of the night to a new high. Still going strong at the top of the technical metalcore ladder after all these years and retaining a status as one of the tightest bands in the game, they summoned a new level of carnage from the crowd with the rapid-fire syncopation of “Back Burner” and showed off their propensity for uplifting lead melodies in new album cut “Martyr”. It was somewhat poetic for those who saw a young Northlane opening for August Burns Red back in 2012 to witness the latter now supporting the former, a reminder of just how big the boys from Blacktown have grown in that three years.
The crowd roared, surged and bounced as the opening harmonic scratches of “Obelisk” kicked off the biggest headline show of Northlane’s career. Benefitting from a spot-on mix, their collective musicianship was on full display, more refined than ever – having already completed a couple of headline tours they were well and truly at home with their new material. And while fan reception to Node was mixed at the time of release, the timing of the tour seems to have worked to the band’s advantage – Node has proven to be a grower of an album, and translates brilliantly live. Meanwhile, not-so-new-guy Marcus Bridge showcased his phenomenal pipes during “Leech” and “Node”, and delivered a new flavour to Singularity tracks “Scarab” and “Dream Awake”, laying to rest any doubts the audience may have held. So confident and commanding has Bridge become that it’s now hard to imagine anyone else fronting the band, naysayers be damned. Closing out their set with “Disposession” – the only song from Discoveries to make the cut – before returning for a two-song encore, they generated one of the wildest pits the Roundhouse has seen in some time.