Animals As Leaders | Intervals | Plini – July 2016 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

Animals As Leaders | Intervals | Plini – July 2016 – Newcastle O2 Academy – REVIEW and PHOTOS

Animals As Leaders | Intervals | Plini – July 2016 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Three instrumental bands perfectly aligned for a night of nerdy prog metal muso wizardry. A series of recommendations for this gig from local bands made me investigate further. Would this be a night to remember? I had a sneaky feeling it would be.

I arrived at the venue just after doors. I was surprised to see there was a huge turnout early on, a rarity for a Newcastle audience! This genre brings a very niche but highly dedicated following. Musically, the night got off to a slow start for me but I soon warmed to the barrage of riffs…


Plini - July 2016 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Plini – July 2016 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Aussie kids are up first with a mellow start to the proceedings. The tone failed to engage me. Super slick and super clean playing, which really reminds me of Chon. I found myself battling to engage with the music, it just wouldn’t click for me. I found myself following the drums, watching this guy play was a joy.

I pondered this for a while and spoke to other audience members to gauge their opinions. I think I’m on my own with this one! Almost everyone I spoke to was ‘blown away’. I wanted a bit more beef in the tone, it felt like a tease. But I suppose that’s purely personal taste. Strandberg guitars lack soul for me. Perhaps tastes are a smidgen too crude to fully appreciate Plini? I think I need to go and investigate their music further, potential growers.

An undeniably talented band and great warm up act for the evening ahead.



In retrospect that’s exactly what Plini were, a warm up, a brilliant move. Intervals took the stage, whom would bring the crunch and groove I craved!

Intervals are (after recent lineup changes) now using touring players. Or as the security asked, is that the same band as before? Aaron Marshall steps out of the shadows and takes centre stage.

Same band, same genre, same guitars! Yet so different. Now this, I liked. The drumming had been knocked up 10 more notches and the shear power of it from down in front was impressive and awe inspiring.

I stood stageside for much of their set, fully engrossed in the drumming of Nathan Bulla. So powerful, I could barely hear the guitars as points. At the core of a brilliant band there’s always a brilliant drummer. Never has this been more true. Intervals are bloody superb, Their first time in Newcastle and they damn near stole the show, not an easy task with this lineup.


Animals as Leaders

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect before the show. Before the show I’d spent sometime talking to fans, some of whom were visibly gutted that a VIP meet and greet had been cancelled last minute. I too, had my video interview with them cancelled last minute, so I did wonder if something was up and would it affect the show. Seemingly it didn’t and the show went on to be a triumph. I’m confident the gig was adequate compensation for the missed chance to meet their heroes!

By now the Academy was packed. All eyes firmly on the band. Admiration and excitement from the crowd is unmistakable as they head into opener ‘Wave of Babies’. Eyes firmly on the band and watching every note, every chord, every lick and of course the gear.

I’m usually a purveyor of the less is more approach to guitar playing. In this case more is definitely more! More notes more strings, more jaws on the floor.

A young lad down the front air drums every beat, every tom, every crash. Proving that it’s not just guitar nerds tonight. In fact the drumming is remarkable in each band, again I find myself drawn to the drums. Fascinating watching them bring order to complex and meandering time signature changes.

Animals as Leaders - setlist - July 2016 - Newcastle O2 Academy
Animals as Leaders – July 2016 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Their set flows by quickly, the band managing to captivate the audience. Guitar nerds of Newcastle rejoiced. Raving about how good the night was.

Animals as Leaders – PHOTO GALLERY

View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library