Those Sheffield tykes, Bring Me The Horizon, played their biggest headline shows to date when they took on two nights in a row at London’s infamous Brixton Academy. Tomas Doyle was in town to check out Oli Sykes and co.’s first night.
6 things we learnt watching Bring Me The Horizon in Brixton…
1) We really like Andrew Neufeld, Comeback Kid are an excellent and oft underestimated band but tonight his new outfit Sights and Sounds fail to impress. Admittedly they are hampered by the Academy’s tendency to lumber support bands with truly shitty sound, but their rumbling emo-grunge never really threatens to light the blue touch paper.
2) In stark contrast, Pierce The Veil threaten to take the roof off the place before they even hit the stage. The shrill scream that meets the revealing of the San Diegans backdrop offering a fair indication of the gender mix of their fanbase. It’s a fucking ovary fest up front.
3) When Vic Fuentes and co do eventually appear the reaction is borderline frightening. This is a band who are absolutely adored by their core supporters and they offer up a slick as anything set which is full of choreographed bounce but, you fancy, lacking in genuine passion. It’s the big singles like ‘Bulls In The Bronx’ and ‘Caraphernelia’ which show them at the top of their game but the between song patter is cynical to the point of distaste: “Buy the new DVD kids, you’re the best crowd we’ve had all tour” Are we fuck, Vic. If these are the next pop-punk megastars, it feels very, very sanitised.
4) Lots of shit gets talked about Bring Me The Horizon but let’s get something very clear from the outset. They are the UK band of their generation most likely to headline a major festival like Download. That’s not to say it will definitely happen, but they are in with a shot. Tonight at Brixton Academy they take all the qualms of the past: Oli Sykes dodgy vocal range, an under-powered stage presence, the notion that they are just a C grade metalcore band, and boot them all into row Z. They’re ready and if it they aren’t playing at least one arena show by the end of this album cycle then the British public need their heads and ears checking.
5) Opening with ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ to strobe lighting and a metric fuck-tonne of confetti, the tone is set early doors: this is a massive spectacle of a rock show. Not a metal show. A rock show. Sykes’ vocals are clear and powerful, with the comparison to Linkin Park’s Chester Benington that has been bandied about since the release of Sempiternal particularly noticeable. Tonight’s set relies heavily on material from that record and it is obvious it’s with such material where the band feel most comfortable now. The addition of Jordan Fish was a master stroke for BMTH, with his backing vocals and clever electronic embellishments making a world of difference tonight. They sound gargantuan.
6) In terms of showmanship it’s an understated but incredibly effective display. Sykes is relatively quiet throughout but commanding when he does speak, inducing circle pits and walls of death as well as imploring the crowd to “punch someone in the cunt” during ‘Chelsea Smile’. It all comes to a head during main set closer ‘Antivist’ and a final encore of ‘Blessed With a Curse’ and the phenomenal ‘Sleepwalking’; the sort of song that makes a mockery of those still pegging BMTH as the fringes-and-breakdowns band they were in 2006. Hate all you want – I doubt Bring Me The Horizon can hear you over all the acclaim.