Tonight Parkway Drive treated a sold out Rock City crowd to a show that surely demonstrates to all of the haters and critics that metalcore is far from dead.
Their choice of guests for the evening was… interesting. Starting out as all good evenings should, with a healthy dose of Death Metal courtesy of Carnifex, things were off to a good start, well at least they were for me. It seems that not all of the crowd would have agreed, limited movement and a few thrown plastic glasses prompting taunts from front man Scott Ian Lewis “That all you got?” which actually seemed to do the trick in firing up the pit. Things really kicked in with Dark Days, Die Without Hope and then Lie To My Face (those gutturals!) from their first record Dead In My Arms. After a brief thank you to the crowd the set peaked with Hell Chose Me, seeing those in the crowd not taking advantage of the brutal breakdowns screaming back the tracks title.
As Northlane arrived on stage and began with Genesis, the opening track from their 2013 album Singularity, there was no questioning why the Rock City crowd were here tonight and what they wanted to see. Immediately, their technically brilliant melodic, metallic hardcore saw the security have to up their game with the amount of surfers piling over the barrier.
I have to mention the recent change in vocalist for Northlane, September 2014 saw the departure of front man Adrian Fitipaldes whose talent left some pretty enormous shoes for someone to fill. Just about a month later after open internet auditions, Marcus Bridge was announced as replacement, which was quickly followed by the release of his debut performance on their single Rot.
So, how did he do? All things considered I was pretty impressed, I do still think he has a way to go to keep up with the vocal range of his predecessor and also with his stagecraft but I feel both will come with time, and what better opportunity than with more time out on the road in the US and Canada with August Burns Red in early 2015. The guys from Sydney finished up with Quantum Flux, which no Northlane set would be complete without.
After the almost euphoric end to the Northlane set, the arrival of Heaven Shall Burn seemed a little odd. Their almost old school thrashy metal feel, seemed to immediately dampen things as people flocked from the barrier to the bars. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with their sound or their set (other than the cheesy dancing and out of place phallic mic gestures) it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the evening’s lineup.
The lull was short lived though as the crowd started to build for the arrival of Parkway Drive, the stage was rebuilt, the confetti cannons were appropriately aimed into the audience and the atmosphere was one of excitement and expectation. That atmosphere exploded as the anthemic riff from Wild Eyes began, the crowd screaming in unison with the guitar and surfers filling the pit, from that point the tempo didn’t drop for a second of the hour-long set that criss-crossed the band’s extensive back catalogue.
The heavier tracks in the set list such as Mutiny and Deliver Me seemed to get the best reactions, and when front man Winston McCall seemed to revel in the inevitable response to his question whether it would be ok if they played another heavy one. A response from him only mirrored when ‘Jesus’ took the stage later in the set to provide some guest vocals.
For me, their performance was faultless. The sound was spot on, and while McCall may not hit the vocal extremes that some of his peers do, his tone and the effortless, charismatic delivery catapults him into the very top handful of live metal vocalists out there.
Just prior to rounding out their set, McCall took a moment to give thanks for the support over the last 11 years, and reminded the Nottingham crowd that the first time that Parkway played outside of Australia was in the UK and on that tour they played Nottingham to about 10 people. I had to reflect on that and how times have changed as tonight’s two and a half thousand strong crowd were losing their minds to closing track Carrion. On tonight’s performance, I can absolutely see why Parkway continue to sell out increasingly sized venues all over the globe and cross my fingers for another visit from them in 2015.
Parkway Drive set list:
Idols And Anchors
Romance Is Dead
Home Is For The Heartless
Review and Photographs: Steve Kilmister