There’s been plenty of chatter as of late regarding Sheffield metallers Bring Me The Horizon, in particular whether or not they are at the caliber prepared to headline some of the most prestigious UK festivals. Think main stage at Download or Reading & Leeds, both of which are typically headlined by long standing bands, having been around for 20+ years. Can Bring Me The Horizon come up against those juggernauts? Well, armed with their dazzling new set up and a near sell out arena show, we were about to find the answer to that in Manchester.
Happy Song, which holds the bands current motto and is also the aptly named title of their recent album ‘That’s The Spirit’, opens the show with an explosion of brightly coloured streamers. For the first time, everyone is able to see their colossal stage set up for all that it is, a barrage of lights – a full wall of stunning visuals, in full colour, to accompany each song.
Already, in just the first song, their set screams stadiums. Their new songs in particular are anthems for young people battling with the reality of inner demons, losing love and learning to trust those who stab you in the back – or in Bring Me’s case, the front if you’re a true friend.
‘Chelsea Smile’ was the only song on the setlist representing the band of old. Everything else hailed from their last two albums, which attested a disappointment to many considering this is their biggest to date, the inclusion of even just one more track from one of the first few albums wouldn’t have injured the set at all, only pushed it further but, with merely 15 songs to play, the selection is still pretty stellar.
Sykes’ vocals have never been so stunning live and there’s something special about his stage presence that makes him charming in his own way. ‘House of Wolves’ was a deafening highlight, full of every raging cell of the bands composition. However, That’s The Spirit tracks ‘Follow You’ and ‘Doomed’ expressed a certain angst behind them that make them gritty and poignant and it’s only helped by Sykes’ powerful spoken intros expressing his utter discontent with the way people treat other people.
Bassist Matt Kean holds quite a charm about him, he moves fluidly around the stage even propping himself up on one of the side podiums demanding the crowds attention for a few moments. However a couple of the members, posted up so high at the back of the stage, seem to get lost in the production, maybe it was intentional allowing every fan in the room to focus more on how far they’ve come with their live sound rather than the members themselves.
It is truly remarkable to think where Bring Me The Horizon are at now, compared to their early days. Long gone are the days of shrill unrecognizeable screams, the lyrics are much more heartfelt and their sets have gone from tiny capped venues to amassing near twenty thousand in the largest arenas across the country.
Their skill is unparalelled and it shows in their final songs of the night; Oh No – their newest single which boasts a moment of slight confusion as the lighting and saxaphone poses the question, The 1975 or Bring Me The Horizon – and Drown which is a monstrous finish. It’s the final chance for both band and fans to push every last bit of energy they have and as the music slows, all that can be heard is the incredible chorus of voices throwing back the hook to end the set.
If Manchester’s show is anything to go by, Bring Me The Horizon are more than deserving of a headlining opportunity at the likes of Reading or Download. They’re a force to be reckoned with, with a new sound that carries across various genres and a stage set up that rivals some of the biggest mainstream pop acts in the game. We can only hope that festival organisers will wise up and we’ll see Bring Me The Horizon at the top of a bill very soon.