Concert Review: Alien Weaponry, The Studio – Saturday 23 March 2019

The Studio was packed to the rafters for a solid metal Saturday night with punters amped to see home-grown band Alien Weaponry.

Hamilton based Seas of Conflict got the party started and the crowd screaming for more.  A short break and Australian band Copia were ready to build the waiting crowd into a frenzy which they did with ease.  All too soon it was time for their final song with the lead singer telling the crowd to cheer loud because this next song would let the band know if they were wanted back…..and cheer they did.

Alien Weaponry’s set starts with brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals) and Henry de Jong (drums), and bass player Ethan Trembath casually walking out onto the stage, smiling out at the crowd while setting up. From the start the band had an aura of relaxed confidence that stressed the fact even though these guys are still only in their teens, Lewis and Ethan having not quite having hit NZ drinking age yet, they have had massive touring experience since releasing their debut album less than a year ago.

The Te Reo Māori metal band have been described as groove thrash metal, a genre term I think really fits in describing the positive energy this album and the band emanates. You could feel the mana and whakahī coming from the band and spreading through crowd during Kai Tangata. The crowd directly around me knowing their Te Reo enough to sing along to every word. The gig wasn’t quite sold out but it looked close, and was an ideal size for the venue. I was expecting the crowd to be teenage heavy but was really impressed with the age range, there were a number of us obviously hardcore thrash fans wearing Slayer T-Shirts from the Slayer gig the previous weekend.

I was able to get right up the front just before the band came on without too much pushback. The mosh pit was one of the best I’ve seen at a metal gig in years. It was big without going too far, people that got knocked down got a hand up by others in the pit. It was of my female companion’s first thrash metal gigs and first experience of a mosh pit, she was well hyped and amping at the end of the gig. It was great to see other female metallers with me up the front.

Rū Ana Te Whenua kicked in and the crowd energy bounced off the walls in a fury. From Urutaa to Nobody Here to The Things that You Know and the rest of their playlist covering the breadth of , Lewis delivered powerful, imposing, and unrelenting vocals throughout. The start of Whispers had the crowd shouting and screaming, and when the first riff dropped the roaring sent a rush of adrenaline through me that had me feel like we were all one with the sound. Henry was full energy on the drums. Trembath, constantly grinning, had the most stage presence with his unyielding headbanging with his long blonde hair, which had me mirroring him in unyieldingly headbanging with my long blonde hair.

Before the encore Lewis yells out “fuck yes Auckland, we love you guys so much man, can we get a photo with you guys? (crowd screams, someone yells pūkana over the top), Alright I want everyone to come to the front and show me your horns”. Show them our horns we did. Before finishing out the night the band generously shares their new as yet untitled song. Beautifully heavy with a tinge of high reaching gloom it didn’t take long for the crowd to sing along to the words “don’t take me for a fool” in the chorus.

The only technical hitch of the night was trying to exit at the end of the concert. Exiting at the entrance we were told exit up the back stairs without clear directions on how that helps us get out, then went to the back entrance, was sent back to the front entrance, then spoke to security who then had the back entrance opened up. Better coordination needed for punters to make a swift and safe exit here.

There was a comment in the crowd that they’re just three teenagers playing metal, yeah well Metallica started as just young men just playing metal too. I hope the band keep the momentum up, the have a big future ahead of them. Can’t wait until they are in next Auckland next, I want my neck to hurt for three days again. Not only can these guys play an incredible metal sound, they have some timely and meritable things to say. Kia kaha.

Andy Baker

photos by Rachel Webb.

Alien Weaponry


Seas of Conflict