Interview: Marcus Bridge of Northlane talks tour, Knotfest and supporting the scene

Credit: Kane Hibberd

Sydney alt-metal legends Northlane have cemented themselves as one of the country’s best independent acts. The band will be taking their #1 album Obsidian across regional Australia on a 16-date tour this November and December with Windwaker and a slew of local supports.

We caught up with frontman Marcus Bridge to chat about the upcoming tour and more.

“It was kind of surreal after so long of being locked away and not having the highest spirits for a little while,” he says of the album reaching #1 on the ARIA charts. “Everyone having such positive energy around it kind of proved that all that stress was worthwhile. It’s really amazing that people have been so supportive of the new album.”

After a headline performance at Full Tilt festival in April, the regional run will be the band’s first shows since their album tour in June. It seems that the band is as keen for the next lap of the country as the fans.

“It’s been great! I think people are just excited for us to be playing shows anywhere after so long. I think also playing these regional towns that don’t always get shows coming through, especially in the last couple of years, is really important. I’m excited to get back there to some form of familiarity.”

The 16-date tour is leaving no stone unturned along the East Coast of Australia. As one of the most accomplished local heavy bands, we asked Bridge if there are any stops booked that they haven’t been to before.

“Maybe not the venues in particular, but I’m pretty sure we’ve played all the cities. Definitely keen for some of those North Queensland spots that we don’t get to go to too often, even on regional runs. They always bring some crazy energy.”

Northlane are renowned for their explosive live shows with pyrotechnics and swelling crowds. When the festival headliners bring their fresh set to a leagues club near you, it’s fair to wonder how they will be scaling it back.

“We’re doing as much as we can within what the venues will allow. We still want to bring a show worth seeing so people don’t feel like they’re getting a B-version of it. But that being said, there is something very special about the intimacy of these shows in 300-400 cap rooms. Honestly, I think part of what makes that so special is the energy you get from being so close to the crowd and being able to interact with everyone quite personally. We’re still gonna be bringing the biggest lightshow we can, but we won’t be setting any venues on fire.”

Alongside nu-metal favourites Windwaker, Northlane asked bands to apply for local support slots on the tour and ended up receiving over 120 submissions. The trailblazers in the scene, they constantly strive to support their peers in any way that they can. To pay it forward, a different act will be playing at every show across the country from Wagga Wagga to Hobart.

“There’s definitely a few bands that have popped up that were quite interesting. Josh (guitarist) handled most of the listening to all of those bands, but I’ve gone through and listened to a couple just to get myself around what’s going on. Vilify from Newcastle, I’ve checked out a bit of their stuff and that’s really sick. I checked out Alienist just ‘cause it had the word ‘alien’ in it and they’re really cool.

“I think it’s good to give opportunities to those bands who might not have even had a big show come through their town in the last few months. In terms of regional touring, I think it’s all just a show of support for where we came from. Even though I wasn’t in Northlane during those times when they were playing random shows in the middle of nowhere to 20 people, we’ve all been there in our own bands.”

In other huge news, Northlane are included on the inaugural Knotfest Australia lineup set to rock our shores in March 2023. Performing alongside big names like Slipknot, Megadeth, Trivium and homegrown heroes Parkway Drive, it’s definitely a career highlight for the band.

“I think for most Australian metal bands, we all remember growing up watching Slipknot playing at the Big Day Out on Channel V. Just thinking of these distinct memories of Slipknot throughout my teenage years and how important they’ve been to me. The idea of playing a show with them anywhere is mind-blowing, whether that’s a festival where we’re playing at 10 in the morning and they’re on at midnight. To be on their festival at home is such an honour and it’s such an awesome lineup for its first one.”

We asked Bridge if there’s anyone on the bill of household names who he’s dying to see and meet.

“There are so many awesome bands on the lineup that I’m super excited to see, but Spiritbox in particular I’ve been wanting to see for a long time.”

You can get your tickets to Knotfest Australia HERE. Just want more Northlane? Get your tickets to their regional tour HERE. Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram for more.

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