Packed into a heaving, sweaty Corn Exchange, one of the smaller venues they’ll visit on this particular tour, Bring Me The Horizon’s legions of fans wait, in anticipation, for what, by the band’s current standards, is a pretty intimate gig.
Up first are Massachusetts trio PVRIS (pronounced Paris), whose thumping pop-infused rock ticks all the right boxes. Led by enigmatic frontwoman Lynsey Gunnulfsen, the band, dressed all in black, put on a really hard-hitting, sleek performance; like The 1975 soundtracking a Twilight film. It’s clean, it’s poppy and heavy in all the right places. Easing from crowd-pleasing chorus to crowd-pleasing chorus through tracks like “St. Patrick” and “My House” they ooze with the sense that they know good things await. If you like the idea of a Paramore-meets- CHVRCHES super-group, get listening to PVRIS, now.
Next up in front of a lively crowd are the latest Welsh-rock success Neck Deep. To be entirely honest, they were absolutely dreadful. They were energetic (irritatingly so) wheeling around the stage, spinning with guitars and throwing drum sticks about and at one point lead singer, Ben Barlow, adopted a sort of 8 Mile, arm in the air bounce…not for me. This is the kind of band that wears three-quarter length shorts inside, baseball tops (they’re from Wales) and skate shoes that put Fred Durst to shame. There wasn’t even any real merit in the music, ridiculously fast drumming and no discernible melodies; I won’t be listening again, but if you enjoy frat-boy punk with music videos set in skate parks or US college parties saying ‘rad’ a lot in a faux-American accent, get involved.
Bring Me The Horizon’s stage production is glorious. There are no amps or monitors on stage, none of that tech clutter and all of the minimalism, and with a wall of light behind them which flickers into life from the opening notes of new track “Doomed” it’s clear this is going to be an immensely atmospheric affair. The electronic nuances of new album That’s the Spirit translate phenomenally well live, the Linkin Park influence alive and well throughout the enormous, crowd-pleasing “Throne” and “True Friend” is the only kind of nod to Nu-Metal we want to see (take note, Neck Deep). Oli Sykes is a frontman possessed, urging the crowd to go more and more crazy, which they do willingly. His performance embodies the obvious fact that this is a band at the very top of their game. The guitars sound thick and utterly ruthless and as the band tear through career-spanning tracks like “Shadow Moses,” “Can You Feel My Heart?,” and “Chelsea Smile,” their tendency for the anthemic is overwhelming. Closing their relatively concise set with “Blessed With a Curse” and “Drown,” BMTH have more than proved themselves at the forefront of British rock music – Reading and Leeds festival headline slots await, surely? Surely.
You can grab Bring Me The Horizon’s latest album That’s The Spirit on iTunes now.