With robo-cheerleaders, hazmat suits and optical illusions, Bring Me The Horizon’s (BMTH) hometown show was a leap through the looking glass, bringing each phase of the band’s musical identity over the past decade into a post-apocalyptic carnival of wonders.
Frontman Oli Sykes, the night’s ringmaster, welcomed the band one-by-one flaunting their local roots and encouraging the “Yorkshire-Yorkshire” chants. “Sheffield, we are going to rock your world,” he announced, as the streamer cannons blew and the thunderous riffs of ‘Teardrops’ got the show underway.
Heavier tracks from Sempiternal (which is as far back as the band went in their discography) generated seismic mosh-pits spurred on by Sykes. New material still generated deafening support though, including singles from last year’s POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR – the first of four EPs/mini albums and ‘DiE4u’ released only eight days prior to the show.
The incredible production throughout the night enhanced every aspect of the gig. From cyberpunk cheerleaders during ‘Happy Song’ to LED zombies and hazmat-cladded backing dancers with smoke guns for ‘Parasite Eve’, the night was a high concept dystopian blockbuster as much as it was a rock show.
It is a testament to the band’s fluidity that they can sell out such big budget arena shows, with a setlist where tracks like ‘House of Wolves’, in which the band dive headfirst into screamo metal, can be paired with pop songs like ‘Medicine’ and the aforementioned ‘DiE4u’ which barely paddle out into rock territory.
Speaking of testaments, Sykes on stage persona is nothing short of biblical. Armoured with a cream-suit, uniformed with the band, the frontman strides across the stage and speaks to the arena with arms wide open. “Each and every one of you is beautiful,” he preaches, “don’t let anybody tell you other wise”.
From ringmaster, to preacher, to hypnotist, Sykes implores the audience to stare at a red square on the LED backdrop as a winding spiral pattern (popularised by Robert Addams as the waterfall illusion) created a temporary optical hallucination as Sykes repeated “I do not chase, I attract”. The band then erupted with the riffs of ‘Shadow Moses’.
For the encore the band perform ‘Obey’ and ‘Throne’ before wielding a Yorkshire flag as they close with ‘Can You Fee My Heart’. As well as being their first show in the county for over two and half years (they last performed at Sykes’ vegan bar/venue CHURCH), it was also special as the first gig Sykes had performed ‘stone cold sober’.
“You guys, honestly, do not know how much you’ve saved me,” he told the Sheffield crowd. As the final strands of confetti fall, it is clear Sykes was not over-exaggerating when he announced the show as his “best gig ever” although perhaps he only just had full clarity on Bring Me The Horizon’s transcendent abilities as performers.