29th April 2013
A month after the release of their critically and commercially successful fourth album, Sempiternal, it’s strange to see Bring Me The Horizon play a venue, and tour, of the sort they seemed assigned to a few years ago. Likewise, despite the mainstream attention the band has garnered, the attendant fans are overwhelmingly more alternative than what you’d expect for a Radio 1 prime time group. Nonetheless, Academy 2 is packed by the time the Steel City quintet take to the stage. Opening on one of their most popular recent tracks, ‘Shadow Moses’, the modest venue soon becomes a hive of activity; moshing, circle-pits and crowd surfing galore from the word go. This belies the performance of the band by some margin. Vocalist Oli Sykes is reputed for his energetic performances and crowd interaction, but doesn’t seem as involved this time around. At least his banter game is on point: ‘Climb over someone’s head and get over the barrier, you only live once. You’ve only got a shit job, or college, or university to go back to- don’t waste your time.’ BMTH get a stirling reaction to follow-up fan favourite ‘Chelsea Smile’, with Sykes barely audible over his fans singing back at him. This reaction is soon threatened by a fire alarm during next track ‘Alligator Blood’, when the sound dramatically drops and sirens begin.
There are a few awkward minutes as the band are at the mercy of technology and disgruntled fans, but more than make up for it with furious renditions of new tracks ‘Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake’ and ‘The House Of Wolves.’ It’s interesting to note how well the audience reacts to the new tracks as well as to the rejuvenated takes on old songs. ‘It Never Ends’ is an equally pounding and upbeat joint from their third album, really brought to life by new member and keyboardist Jordan Fish. Unlike the triggered and pre-recorded parts of old, Fish integrates the electronic elements of BMTH’s sound seamlessly; vital considering tracks such as the epic ‘Blessed With A Curse’ and night closer ‘Sleepwalking’.
The last tracks go down surprisingly well despite being material furthest from their metal roots. That doesn’t stop the crowd fervour- all singalongs and some fairly gut busting mosh on show. With that, the lights go up and the night seems to be at an end. However, BMTH triumphantly return and end on the stadium-sized ‘Empire (Let Them Sing)’ and the gritty, yet no less gigantic ‘Antivist.’ These tracks show the two sides of the Bring Me The Horizon coin in their current state; dance-influenced and progressive, yet irremovably rooted in metal. How far this taken them standing on their own feet remains to be seen, but tonight BMTH seem to capable of anything.