SHOW REVIEW: Bring Me the Horizon
When I was 16 years old, I started working at my first job. At the time, I had just started going to therapy, I didn’t really have close friends, and I felt like my life was just the worst (it wasn’t). I forgot exactly how, but around that time, Bring Me the Horizon came into my life. You may recall from my review for Bring Me the Horizon’s January release amo.
My 16-year-old self felt she was “too good” to subject herself to the dark metal emo music the “weird” kids liked. I spent my first ever paycheck on a ticket to their show two hours from my house. I went, I screamed, I sang, I moshed and I trashed to every song; I just felt this release of pressure and, for a moment at least, thought “things are going to be okay”.
Fast forward to now, I’m 19 and about to start my third year of college. When Bring Me the Horizon finally announced that they were returning to St. Louis, I knew that the timing would be perfect. This time, I wasn’t just going to the show as a fan, but also as a photographer. It would be the second biggest shoot of my career, capturing the band that carried me through the dark times.
The Second Base Tour is the second leg of Bring Me the Horizon’s US tour, highlighting their January 2019 release, amo. Prior to the show, I knew the set list would be different and some live elements were going to change. I wasn’t sure exactly how that would affect the quality of the show. Prior to doors, the band’s Instagram posted a video of the previous night’s performance of “House of Wolves”. Interestingly, three dancers on stage accompanied the track with a choreographed dance. If you’ve ever heard any Bring Me the Horizon, especially from Sempiternal and earlier, I think you’d find it very unlikely anyone could choreograph it.
Stage lights slowly faded as the crowd roared with joy, marking the beginning of the set. However, it wasn’t the band on stage when the lights came up. Instead, two people with (I’ll admit) very scary masks covering their face held a gun-shaped cannon seemingly pointed at me. On top of the stage were the same dancers in the video, wearing masks that enshrouded their heads. I was mesmerized by the scope of the performance before the first song started.
Finally, Jordan, Matt, Lee, and Matthew strode out on stage wearing white hazmat suits customized to fit the band’s aesthetic (or perhaps even Oli’s clothing line: Drop Dead). Then, Oli Sykes came out, donning the same suit he wore in the “Mantra” music video. Now, when I’m covering shows, you’ll always see me focused, professional, and on my A-game. However, when I saw him in the Mantra suit, I internally lost my sh*t. The second the first bass note kicked in, the aforementioned cannons fired smoke into the crowd. Everyone went nuts.
Here’s the thing about Bring Me the Horizon. They’re never going to do things lowkey and small. This wasn’t a gig, this was a production, and a huge one at that. The cannons at one point blasted flames in the venue, quickly heating the place. The dancers accompanied the entire show with fitting technique and themes. The whole band even had an outfit change. Their theatrics, however, were not a distraction to the music itself. Eventually, the dancers and the masked cannoneers left the stage, making way for a more intimate atmosphere.
When I returned to the pit as a fan, I didn’t let anything stop me from enjoying the show. For the second-ever time, they played “Sugar Honey Ice and Tea”, metaphorically launching me into space. Sadly, the pit was the only section of showgoers who seemed into it. We can do better! It’s a Bring Me the Horizon show! You gotta be physical to get the whole experience and I’m saying that despite my sore neck.
Bring Me the Horizon delivered a genuinely theatrical live show at their Second Base Tour while still being true to themselves. Their new sound blended so effortlessly and masterfully with their classic metalcore hits. I only wish the performance was twice as long.
At the end of the show, I had the absolute pleasure to meet, Matt, Oli, Jordan, and Matthew outside the venue. I told Oli how much Bring Me the Horizon’s music got me through those grim teenage years. He was incredibly sweet and I can assure you each member is nicer than the next. It felt like such a full circle moment. Did I go from sobbing in my room over Bring Me the Horizon’s Reading 2015 set to shooting the band for the second biggest show of my career? Yes, I did. Plus I got to thank them for their impact after? Unreal.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Everyone has to see Bring Me the Horizon live at least once. It’s okay if you, like me, once judged this “emo metalcore” sound but it’s not as daunting as it seems. Their shows are an incredibly cathartic place where you can just jump and scream all your feelings out. Bring Me the Horizon has embraced the fact that your pain, anger, and sadness can be turned into something beautiful, unifying, and worth embracing. I’ll be seeing Bring Me the Horizon again at Lollapalooza in August and I strongly suggest you make some time to catch their set if you’re planning on attending.