It was a sunny Sunday night (1) as fans curled around the corner of Lexington and 23rd Street, waiting to file into the Gramercy Theatre for Australian metalcore band Northlane’s sold-out New York stop on their Neon Alien tour. Well worth the wait, the venue was rightly packed for what was to be a well-curated, energetic night of music.
Featuring Crystal Lake, Currents, Erra and, of course Northlane, the talent just kept getting better and better with every band that took the stage. I don’t think there was any point where there wasn’t a large circle pit formed in the middle of the floor and the slam dancing just kept getting more and more intense.
Tokyo, Japan metalcore band Crystal Lake started off the night with an energetic performance that got the crowd pumped. It’s not often that an opening act can orchestrate such a sizable circle pit and get people moving around the floor. Lead singer Ryo Kinoshita bounced around the stage like a madman, mirroring the intensity of the music and amping up the crowd. Unfortunately, I personally found it hard to understand any of the words being screamed by Kinoshita, which put a damper on any understanding I had of the music.
Currents was up next and they were on their game as well. The Connecticut metalcore band played a short but intense set, which they deemed a homecoming of sorts. Their bass-heavy, more melodic sound really had the crowd moving.
Erra was main support for the night and the energy they brought was especially engaging. I was really struck by the melodic hardcore band’s musicianship and positivity. Guitarist Jesse Cash took every opportunity for a solo and each one was impressive and fantastically executed. The way the frontman J.T. Cavey connected with the crowd was energizing and inviting. He really made sure the crowd was with him every step of the way. It’s not often that an opening act gets the crowd to demand an encore (due to time restrictions they could not oblige).
By the time Northlane got to the stage, the crowd was ready for the main event. The band played a mix of songs from throughout their 10-year career, though their set mainly focused on their new album, Alien. Singer Marcus Bridge had a huge smile on his face the entire time, even with the personal nature of the new songs. The crowd was into it as well, singing along to songs like “Bloodline,” “Talking Heads” and “Rot” with as much intensity as Bridge. The pit was energetic and raucous, growing with every song played. When the band came back on stage for their two-song encore, everyone went wild, pushing barricades, crowd-surfing and slam dancing hard.
The energy was palpable during Sunday’s Neon Alien tour stop and you didn’t even need to understand what was going on to feel it. Sustained circle pits and rowdy singalongs were proof enough of the connection these bands had with the audience. Whether it was the intensity of Crystal Lake and Currents, the musicianship of Erra or the reliability and power of Northlane, each band contributed in their own way to this energy with their performances, making this sold out show a thoroughly engaging night of music.