Opening up the night were Basement, who were a bit of a surprise to see on the lineup to start with due to their completely different sound from the head liners Bring Me The Horizon. However, the arena-sized venue didn’t seem to phase the Ipswich 5 piece at all. As they shredded through their half hour set with energy and boldness, the growing crowd seemed to appreciate it more and more as the songs became more aggressive. For a smaller band playing a support slot in an arena show, they did well to manage with the confined space available and the lack of die hard fans in the crowd. [6/10]
Don Broco were next up, and it seemed everyone was familiar with them if not fully declaring themselves as fans. As soon as the first notes stuck out across the arena floor the crowd were moving and by the end of that track there were multiple puts open in the sea of people. Frontman Rob Damiani has a stage presence that rivals even some of the best today as he walks with a swagger about the stage, and he was on fine form. The band seamlessly swapped places to spread their attention across the enormous room and everyone got their fair share of Broco action. One of the best singalongs of the whole night came for their track Nerve from the Automatic album and it was as if every member of the then full audience knew it by heart or learned the chorus pretty quickly. Despite Rob’s voice apparently being nearly gone, the audience were virtually foaming at the mouth waiting for the headliners and if that doesn’t say volumes about how much hype Don Broco create, nothing will. [8/10]
Finally, it was Bring Me The Horizon‘s go to try to top the supports and within seconds their intent was clear. They came crashing out onto the stage with the first single from their latest album That’s The Spirit with choruses of “sing along a little f***ing louder to a happy song and you’ll be just fine” that the crowd knew all too well. They followed up with Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake and by the time The House of Wolves hit the speakers, those watching on had already created multiple pits to show their appreciation.
The middle two songs of the setlist showed just how the band has changed in the last eight years, with Chelsea Smile being the only remaining taste of the pre-Sempiternal era in the show and Follow You being the most pop-influenced vocal Bring Me The Horizon have ever produced. The former showed Oli had the crowd completely in his control as he made everyone in the venue (including in the stands) sit down as he screamed the “Repent! Repent!” section out and jump as the chugging rhythm hit once more. Follow You was a deeply emotive experience, especially when followed with a speech about how the fans of the band had saved his life before Sleepwalking. This was then followed with an extended introduction to Doomed as Oli recited a poem about nihilism and death which was immaculately written.
The highlight of the main body of the set was Antivist, which saw Oli using growls and highs in his vocals (see video below) which are rare in their performances nowadays. The track has been described as “Chelsea Smile part two” and this was shown pretty clearly in this performance. The main body of the set was closed with an energetic rendition of Throne which saw the standing crowd bouncing like pistons throughout to finish a very full-on twelve songs.
The short break before the encore saw pretty much everyone in the venue shouting for more of the band, though they didn’t get what they may have expected. True Friends was the first to ring out, but then came Oh No which marks the first time this has been played in a tour setlist in the UK for the band. Last up came Drown, the transition song to the new era, during which Oli caused sheer pandemonium by means of arena-sized crowdsurfing. A fitting end to a great set.
Overall, Bring Me The Horizon show clearly that a concert is more than just a musical performance: it is an experience. The giant screens taking up the entirety of the stage backdrop and the huge blocks that formed their setup showed how much the band have come on since their days of being bottled in dingy pubs nearly fifteen years ago. Most bands wouldn’t even dream of playing videos of Luftwaffe bombings and implied beatings in religious circumstances, but BMTH do it without a second thought. Despite a few slip-ups including Oli coming in on the wrong verse to start Can You Feel My Heart and his voice not holding out for some extended notes, a monumental success for the band. They will hit new heights very soon, guaranteed.
See the video of Antivist below, filmed by YouTube user owenstone100 (WARNING: contains very strong language).