If you’re one of the people who kept saying that you can’t get into ‘Mantra’ or ‘Wonderful Life’ because “it’s not heavy enough”, you clearly haven’t witnessed Bring Me The Horizon live on stage. Bringing a bloody storm to Rod Laver Arena in April, the Sheffield legends finished up their Aussie leg of their First Love, crushing any doubts on whether ‘they’ve still got it’. Here are some of my highlights…
Before you roll your eyes and scoff ‘well duh, that’s obvious’, hear me out. As a relatively new fan of BMTH thanks to their most recent, revolutionary and accessible record ‘amo’ – which is undoubtedly brilliant and caters to any kind of music lover, whether you’re into R&B, metalcore, hardcore, other “cores”, or even dubstep and heavy metal – I was definitely keen to see how it translated to a live setting, but I wondered how the hardcore fans would deal, and if we’d actually hear a lot of their older stuff.
Essentially, their set was made up of the singles and fan favourites from the band’s last three albums, which meant there was a little something for every type of fan – whether you’re a newbie, or you’ve been a hardcore fan since their first release in 2006.
New fans were treated to tracks like ‘Mantra’, ‘Mother Tongue’, ‘Wonderful Life’, ‘Nihilist Blues’ and ‘Medicine’ from amo, while BMTH unleashed ‘Happy Song’, ‘Doomed’, ‘Avalanche’, ‘Throne’ and ‘Follow You’ from the album That’s the Spirit (2015) and ‘The House of Wolves’, ‘Antivist’, ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ and ‘Shadow Moses’ from their 2013 effort Sempiternal.
The setlist proved to be super dynamic, proving genre really is no longer a consideration, and still saw Sykes in his element when pulling out the ferocious screams from the earlier material. The man’s got an infectious growl, but his clean vocal performance stands just as strong, proving to be one helluva power combo in the arena.
STADIUM WORTHY PRODUCTIONS
Having never witnessed these guys live before, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the production value of the show. I knew their last Australian tour saw them perform in Margret Court Arena back in 2017, but Rod Laver Arena requires an entirely different beast. Within five seconds of BMTH taking the stage, my uncertainties were debauched with the onslaught of smoke guns, streamer drops/confetti cannons, pyrotechnics, and massive LED screens with colourful graphics. There was even this kind of strip screen where the step up was that had imagery to compliment every single beat. Epic.
From the moment BMTH opened with ‘Mantra’, the crowd was frenzied and engulfed the room with a vibe that paralleled an energizer bunny on steroids. Throughout the set, there was a constant rotation of animated fans crowd surfing to the front of the mosh, getting flipped over the barriers and then running back to do it all again, which was met with the security being absolute legends, helping them along the way. Of course, what would a deathcore show at Rod Laver be without the enormous circle pits? Sykes banter was definitely encouraging; inciting the crowd to create massive circle pits by proclaiming “If you stand still you’re a fucking dickhead”, “Open it up, that’s disgusting”, and even citing that Sydney-siders have been talking shit about Melbourne’s effort in the pit before launching into ‘The House of Wolves’. Safe to say it was the encouragement the crowd needed, and they soon got their shit together for the most spectacular circle pits I’ve ever seen.
FRANK FUCKING CARTER
Going into this show, I had no idea who Frank Carter was… Leaving the show, I’m certain Frank Carter is one of the best frontmen in rock right now. Close to stealing the show, Carter and his band The Rattlesnakes stormed the arena stage, opening the set with a handstand in the crowd before taking us on a wild ride with tracks like ‘Crowbar’, ‘Lullaby’, ‘Wild Flowers’, and a heartfelt ‘Anxiety’. Closing their short set with ‘I Hate You’, Carter had 100,000 people eating out of the palm of his hand, credit to his ferocious and vibrant performance and long between-song emotionally-charged speeches. The only disappointing part of his whole performance was when he decided to get amongst the circle bit, which sadly just turned into a selfie pit… points for trying Carter.
THE DEATHCORE MEDLEY
Without a doubt, this was the best part of the night, despite how annoyed it made the band… let me explain. Heading into the encore, following an acoustic rendition of ‘Drown’, a crowd surfer made his way to the front with a sign that read “play the deathcore medley” – which apparently really annoyed Sykes for which he let out a few expletives, use the sign as toilet paper then throw it away before performing ‘Doomed’. It was then that Sykes turned to his band and said, ‘are we doing this?’, giving the damn crowd what they want by bringing the walls down with a medley of ‘The Comedown/Medusa/Diamonds Aren’t Forever/Re:They Have No Reflections’. With ‘The Comedown’ having the greatest breakdown of 2008, you can safely say that crowd surfer was the hero of the night in many fan’s eyes.
One thing is for sure, whether you love them or hate them, Bring Me The Horizon put on one stellar live show. It was so fkn good, you should have been there…
Photo by Jordan Munns
BRING ME THE HORIZON
Friday April 12
Qudos Arena, Sydney