Bring Me The Horizon at The O2 Academy, Birmingham

BMTHAlthough you can’t argue that Bring Me The Horizon and main support Pierce The Veil are both of the “post-hardcore” genre, the difference in their music is shown in the stark contrast of the crowd. There’s a fair mix of mid-teen (primarily) girls who seem to have a connection with the music on an emotional level, versus early/mid-twenties (primarily) men who seem to be there just because they like the angry edge to Ollie (Sykes, BMTH vocals) lyrics. That’s probably why they didn’t enjoy the first set so much.

Bands such as these, plus others like Of Mice And Men and Sleeping With Sirens are renown though this genre as being “life savers” and the lead singers – please note: including Ollie – advocate suicide awareness, learning to be happy with oneself etc. For this reason, I – personally – find it disgusting that some of the older fans in the room spoke of Pierce The Veil’s set as “cringing” and “embarrassing”. The band are fairly big in America and after playing several headlines tours here, and a little festival called Slamdunk, they’re making their name in England too – they’ve even been played on Radio 1 before. It’s clear they know how to put on a good show too, and from the first track there are mosh pits sparking up around the venue and by Hell Above, the second track of the set, the main area of the venue is alive with action.

For a band that’s relatively under-the-radar in the UK, it’s quite overpowering how fiercely the room chanted “my love for you was bulletproof, but you’re the one who shot me”. Now, here comes the moment the older half of the audience of the audience were whining about – before Vic (Fuentes, vocals and guitar) begins Hold On Till May, he says this: “this one’s for everyone who can say that music has saved their life”. Heaven forbid, some people in the room might actually have an emotional connection with the band. Luckily, those who chose to make disapproving comments at a hint of emotion were satisfied by Vic’s introduction to the next song – “do you all know what a circle pit is?!” Apparently, they did.

I want to say that I’ve never seen a crowd go at insane for a band as the room went for Pierce The Veil, but if I said that, I don’t know how I’d describe the reaction to Bring Me The Horizon. The entire room was a mosh pit, and they played it like an arena. To be fair, I do have mixed opinions of the confetti though… Paramore had confetti and it worked. But BMTH? It just seems a little… well, not post-hardcore. Plus, to say the tour was entitled “Crooked Young”, it came as a little bit of a disappointment that they didn’t play Crooked Young; in fact, I saw many complaints over social media about the setlist, especially the exclusion of Hospital For Souls and Seen It All Before. There was a fair ratio of old music to new music though – something for those who’d only heard Sempiternal, and for those who’d been following the band a while.

The set kicks off with Can You Feel My Heart, possibly the band’s best promoted single of all time, let alone just off the recent album. It’s clear from the fact that everyone in the room became dragged into the most pit that it was going to be a big night. After Shadow Moses comes Diamonds Aren’t Forever – one of their older tracks, and it’s clear that Ollie’s voice isn’t what it used to be. This isn’t the first of their older tracks that you can hear his vocals straining on.

If the chanting through the PTV set was overpowering, I don’t know how to describe the reaction to the next track, House of Wolves. This song features the distinctive lyrics “when you die the only kingdom you’ll see, is two foot wide and six foot deep” – a line as smooth as the set. The night is filled with stand out moments like this, where the crowd forms as one to chant the lyrics – they’re not just jumping en masse, but singing too! It has to be said, when Ollie’s singing, it’s impossible to detect his accent. However, when he’s speaking between tracks, and especially when he instructs the crowd to form a circle pit with “fuckin’ right ‘en!”, it’s actually mind blowing how northern his accent is – and you’d never be able to tell in the songs.

The set is full of highlights; the confounding smoke in Empire (Let Them Sing), the phenomenal performance of the track that first got the band noticed, and the collective “middle fingers up” in Antivist. The band leave the stage after this, the eleventh track, but it’s only seconds before the chants of “we want more” break out defiantly. Of course there’s more – the band come back on for Blessed With A Curse (although Ollie’s vocals were strained beyond all reasonable hearing for this track) and they finish on Sleepwalking. This was, naturally, accompanied with more smoke and confetti. And sweat. Lots, and lots, of sweat.

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