Voltera launched their second concept album Co-Ordination at the Northcote Social club on Friday night with support by Circles, Death Audio and Sirus. Voltera’s infamy precedes them, having been refused entry to the US on their last outing, so I knew we were bound to be in for a night of aggressive sounds and I wasn’t disappointed.

When I arrived Sirus, the first band of the evening, were already on stage and I felt like I had walked into a nightclub scene from an 80s dystopic future film – one of those token scenes showing how awful music in the future would be. The cyberpunk/industrial/dubstep duo of Josh Rombout and Andrew Waugh certainly looked the part – Waugh painted black and orange and Rombout with his sculpted jacket and fluoro pink mohawk – but (un)fortunately, the music was far from terrible. It sounded like Ministry and Skrillex had made a baby, then trained it to be a formidable force. I was slightly confused though that they had brought their own blacklight (which I noticed as they were packing up the set) but for a band like that I guess their appearance is as important as their sound.

Death Audio were up next (after a very big break and some technical difficulties) and their hardcore sound was a huge sonic shift from Sirus’ electro. Their guitar heavy sound was complemented by their two headed vocal approach, with Josh Cahill and Phil Gee sharing responsibilities in a brutal combination of growls and melodic vocals. I was really impressed by Karl Steller’s machine gun like double kicking, at times it overpowered the guitars but I think that came down to a pretty ordinary mix. Overall the set was pretty good, and the crowd seemed to agree, I overheard one fan say “they really reminded me of Hawthorne Heights, but faster and heavier” which I can only assume would be a massive compliment to the band.

Everyone in the crowd seemed pretty excited for Circles, as did the guys from Death Audio, and they definitely delivered what everyone was expecting. They’ve managed to amass a huge following since their inception in 2010 and have gotten onto some pretty high profile lineups, including an upcoming appearance at Euroblast Festival, all before releasing their first album which is due this year. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of their sound, though they definitely played well. I was pretty impressed by their use of a backing track for most songs, but I always find the use of prerecorded vocals to be a bit contentious. It’s not as though Perry Kakridas’ vocals needed bolstering, his Mike Patton influence is pretty obvious, but he does a cracking job of making it work.

Some more technical difficulties meant that Voltera were a bit late to the stage and the crowd were getting a bit restless. They built up the anticipation even more by playing a heavy electronic intro with the curtain closed before opening up and heading into their opening track, ‘Rocking Horse’. The band is great, but the show belongs to Jessica Koch, her vocals range from Gwen Stefani like melodies, through to growls and spits that rival Marilyn Manson at his height and that was just within the first two tracks. She continued to be a powerful force right through the set, outshining her bandmates which is particularly impressive as they are all fantastic and I got a big White Zombie vibe from them. They suffered through some more technical difficulties (the curse of using computers in music) during which the crowds’ restlessness peaked, before they played the last song of the set. The crowd called for an encore, and Voltera were happy to appease (once Michael’s keyboards were back up and running). Despite the technical setbacks and the fact that it all ran a bit late, the whole night was fantastic.

Lee Snipes

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