If there’s one band who have managed to overcome their doubters and rise into the stratosphere of the alternative rock scene, then it must be Sheffield quintet Bring Me the Horizon. Once a brutal deathcore mob, Oli Sykes and co. have now transformed themselves into a world-beating, anthemic collective. Although they’ve well and truly left their roots in the past, new album That’s the Spirit still sounds like a natural progression in the ongoing story of “Sheffield’s heaviest bands”. Last night, the band concluded the European leg of their tour (Brussels, originally set to conclude, was cancelled) at Tilburg’s newly renovated 013, together with support from Beartooth and PVRIS. Read on for a full live review.
Due to an increased security presence at the 013, doors opened earlier than expected and completely slowed down the entry process. The line, which was around 2,000-strong, stretched all the way round the 013 as groups of people were allowed in during selected intervals. Once the Caleb Shomo-fronted outfit Beartooth finally took to the stage, the room was already jam-packed. Before opening track The Lines even kicked in, Shomo took it upon himself to give the crowd the first of his many instructions. The Lines’ chugged opening riffs, courtesy of guitarists Taylor Lumley and Kamron Bradbury, made for instant pits and energy on the crowd’s behalf, something which Shomo revelled in. For the duration of Beartooth’s 30-minute set, Shomo was nothing short of energetic and ecstatic, spending time between almost each song to instruct or converse with the crowd. Before hit track In Between, Shomo encouraged a mass sing-a long, alongside a spate of circle pits. In Between eventually made for the set highlight, with Brandon Mullins’ fast-paced percussion holding the track together. During Beaten in Lips, PVRIS’ Justin Nace and Brian MacDonald joined the band onstage for a brief freak-out, before Beartooth ended their set on an extremely energetic rendition of Body Bag. “One life, one decision” was the instruction Shomo decided upon this time round, proving his worth as he
managed to keep his vocals impressively strong for the duration of their set.
Beartooth onstage at the 013 (by Jack Parker; Instagram)
Following a 30-minute switchover period, the Lynn Gunn-fronted PVRIS took to the stage for half an hour of upbeat electro pop. Set opener White Noise instantly demonstrated Gunn’s impeccable live voice, before recent single Fire made for the first big moment of the set. “You’re out of line” sang Gunn during the chorus as bodies flew across the floor, before the Chvrches-like Mirrors added a slower, synth-led aspect to the set. Gunn spent the majority of Mirrors parading around stage and interacting with fans from a distance, the end of Mirrors already marking the halfway point during an extremely brief set. The second half of the set was 10x more energetic and memorable than the first, including Holy’s upbeat percussion and catchy synths. The set came to an end during the double header of St Patrick and My House, both of which were received by equal amounts of energy and vocalisation from the crowd. During the latter, bodies wouldn’t stop bouncing during My House’s huge chorus. Lynn Gunn managed to sustain strong vocal tones for the whole show, rarely falling below the high bar which Beartooth had set just 30 minutes earlier. Gunn and her band will return to Amsterdam’s Melkweg next April, although you can rest assured that this show will receive an upgrade to a bigger room sooner or later.
PVRIS onstage at the 013, backed by a stunning light show (by Jack Parker; Instagram)
Bring Me the Horizon followed, opening their set with Doomed. Its bubbling electronics and subdued synths are a world away from the Bring Me the Horizon pre-Sempiternal, with Oli Sykes’ previously commonplace screams having been replaced by clean vocals and stadium-ready choruses. Once the track really kicks in during the chorus, it’s very clear that the band have pulled out all the stops on a production front. An LED light screen backs the band (who are joined by an extra live guitarist), projecting hypnotic visuals and blocks of text. Either side of the stage is flanked by confetti cannons, with C02 emerging from the ground at various points onstage. All of this (bar confetti) was used during Doomed, really stressing Bring Me the Horizon’s emphasis on the whole show; the whole package. That’s the Spirit’s lead track, Happy Song, was preceded by isolated cheerleader chants, before more C02 and extreme visuals launched themselves into the retina’s of 3,000 fans. “SPIRIT, let’s hear it!” declared Sykes, his vocals often being accompanied by backing tracks during newer cuts. Since Sykes’ vocals have really started taking a battering (just listen to his early back catalogue to hear why), he’s resorted to singing instead of screaming. However, onstage he now often relies on some extra help so that he’ll be able to hit the hard notes. It’s a bit of a disappointment, yet then again Sykes is a truly energetic and powerful frontman. During Happy Song’s breakdown, he doesn’t seem satisfied until the circle pit really is big enough. Once it is, all hell breaks loose. Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake (taken from 2013’s stellar Sempiternal) makes for the first big highlight of the evening, with its chorus seeing the 013 literally start to shake. “No one wants to hear you, no one wants to see you” declares Sykes, his anguished vocals really coming across well in the 013’s fantastic acoustics. Fellow Sempiternal track The House of Wolves sped the pace right up again, with the circle pits so big that people were being battered up against the busy bar. It made for some health and safety concerns on security’s behalf, however this was soon resolved.
Bring Me the Horizon making the most of their production (by Jack Parker; Instagram)
So far, the only albums which had been featured were this year’s That’s the Spirit and 2013’s Sempiternal. That changed when the band pulled out Suicide Season fan favourite Chelsea Smile. You could definitely notice Sykes’ struggle in hitting the more gut-wrenching notes, with him rather opting to let the crowd fill in for him. On the surface, it seems like a poor show. However, he really does have quite some difficulty with his vocals on older tracks, much due to the way in which he used to scream (incorrectly). New smash hit Throne sounds like a mix between Linkin Park and Jordan Fish’s insanely talented mind, with the band encouraging a mass sit-down during the breakdown. Slowly but surely, everyone in the 013 got down on their knees and proceeded to jump up when the synth-led chorus kicked back in. It was a real sight to behold, especially when the subsequent jump-up made for a massive pit which spanned both bars. The brutally heavy Shadow Moses left no stone unturned, conquering everyone and everything in its path as Lee Malia’s heavy-as-fuck riff stormed through the speakers. Bassist Matt Kean and drummer Matt Nicholls’ rhythm section held the whole affair together effortlessly, with Sykes’ vocals only the icing on the cake for the most part. You could say that Malia is one of the best metal guitarists out there right now, and you still wouldn’t recognize him if he walked past you in the street. The beautifully anthemic Sleepwalking went on to utilize a chopped-up synth melody and chugged guitars, before its chorus was just downright cry-worthy. Up until That’s the Spirit, Bring Me the Horizon never really did ballads. But if they did, Sleepwalking would be a ferociously powerful one. Newer track True Friends (who, according to Sykes, “stab you in the front”) was more upbeat, utilizing Sempiternal-esque string synths and more mainstream-tinged guitar stabs. “You can run, but you can’t hide” declared Sykes, before fellow Sempiternal highlight Can You Feel My Heart helped the main set near its end. More electronics-laden instrumental sections and huge choruses intertwined with one another, making way for set closer Antivist. This is Bring Me the Horizon’s protest song, and it’s totally accompanied by a crowd full of raised middle fingers, all of them raised at (according to Sykes’ past interviews) David Cameron. Antivist left the whole crowd absolutely destroyed, 11 songs after the first sings of chaos appeared.
Spates of C02 and confetti erupting during Drown (by Jack Parker; Instagram)
After a lengthy wait, the band returned for a brief encore which was preceded by eerie synths and a sea full of lit-up mobile phones. Blessed With a Curse (taken from There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret) sprawled in and out of manic consciousness as its chorus saw 3,000 voices sing along at the top of their lungs. “Ever since the beginning, I was blessed with a curse” declared Sykes, continuing that he was “born into a hearse”. It wasn’t the most euphoric or emphatic encore opening ever, and the track had been better off were it placed into the middle of the set. The whole evening came to an end on 2014 single Drown, which is ultimately one of the band’s most uplifting tracks (instrumentally at least). This was the moment in the set where everything came together, from the chanted vocals right through to the closing confetti and C02. Drown is an absolute belter, sounding even more bombastic and grandiose live than it does on record. As the show came to an (unfortunately early) end, one thing was clear – anyone who previously doubted Bring Me the Horizon may well have been convinced now that this band are one of the best in their field. Sure, there’s a heavy emphasis on the show and its accompanying effects, but that doesn’t make the music itself any less overshadowed. Bar Blessed With a Curse, their 013 show was filled with absolute bangers which ensured the venue received a floor-shaking, welcome-return to the Dutch venue circuit. Bring Me the Horizon are at the top of their game, and nothing will stop them.
You may be wondering why we’ve lifted shots from the show from our own Instagram accounts, instead of sharing actual pictures. This is because Bring Me the Horizon took the liberty of cancelling every photo pass for the show two days ago, save for their own band photographer and one Dutch outlet who forced their way back into the photo pit. We hope you enjoy our more ‘personal’ mobile shots instead, even if they don’t do the show the justice professional photographs do. Thanks.