Friday, 19 February 2016

Bring Me The Horizon - Electric Brixton, 18/02/16

Because this concert was part of the BRITs week celebrations, this was not a regular Bring Me The Horizon show - I've seen them a handful of times, but this was certainly the most diverse and interesting of all of those. 

Openers Zibra were unquestionably the most pop act on the bill, but that also made them the most fun act of the evening. Kicking off with 'Wasted Days', the crowd wasted no time in starting to bounce along: I was quite surprised by the reaction, because they definitely aren't the kind of band that would normally support Bring Me The Horizon, but they really seemed to embrace their sound. The dancing didn't stop once throughout, and the amount of people responding more than doubled.
With vocalist Sam looking like a much more badass version of Jedward, the band are certainly a memorable one. When you combine that with the fact that Russi Harley was playing a percussive pineapple (yep, you heard me, it had been hollowed out and filled with what Sam claimed were "dried ants", making for a very unique maraca!) and bashing out a cover of 'Where Are U Now' by Justin Bieber to outro 'Chlorine'... You really couldn't expect what was going to happen next.
On that note: a Bring Me The Horizon crowd not bottling over a Justin Bieber cover? I don't know if that proves that the average age of the fans has increased exponentially, or if Bieber is just really cool now.
I probably enjoyed 'Sunscreen' the most in their set, despite the fact that I'd only heard 'Wasted Days' before seeing them live. With the chorus of "we never wear sunscreen, because we always like the heat" they're definitely using their popularity to be bad influences, but bad feels so good when it's unadulterated pop like this.
Closing with a brand new song (apparently releasing next week) was a gutsy move, but with it's catchy "uh-oh" refrain I'm sure it'll be stuck in the mind of everyone who was in attendance. I'm predicting very big things happening for these boys, with their sound reminiscent of The 1975 (exemplified perfectly on 'R.I.P (Rest In Peace)'), so I'd suggest you listen to them sooner rather than later - this isn't a rise that you want to miss out on.

Wasted Days
Great White Shark
Chlorine (Where Are U Now outro)
R.I.P (Rest In Peace)

I was actually a little bit disappointed with Sundara Karma's set, but I think that was because I hyped them up so much after seeing them at Reading festival last summer where they absolutely owned their tent.
I'm wondering if vocalist Oscar LuLu might have been ill, in which case I don't want to penalize them for something out of their control, but his vocal was a little too far on the nasal side tonight. It wasn't something I'd picked up on at Reading, which is why I'm wondering if it might have been a one-off issue... But his voice didn't appeal to me too strongly, and the tone - combined with the acoustics in the venue - made it a little bit hard to understand the lyrics throughout their set. For someone who rates lyrical content quite highly in how they feel about a band, this was frustrating for me. I'd been looking forward to hearing more of the band, but I came away feeling very ambivalent about them.
Sundara Karma are definitely more likely to turn up as a support for Bring Me The Horizon in a regular setting, because they're rockier than Zibra and have the introspective rock attitude down. There wasn't much interaction with the crowd, but it came off as more punk than rude - they thrashed through their songs and it was all over quite quickly: their half an hour set time seemed to fly past. They had less of a crowd reaction than Zibra, but their music isn't really something that you can dance to as easily - the audience were still polite in their applause, though.
My attention span did go a couple of times during their set, because a few of their songs did sound similar, but the new song they played in the middle (whose name I can't work out, but which had an extremely catchy refrain featuring the lyrics "She says she needs me") recaptured my focus. It definitely seems as though their new music is taking on a life of its own, and it certainly stands out from the other songs they performed.
I still really enjoy listening to Sundara Karma's recordings, but I'm not too fussed about seeing them live again just yet, which is a shame. If you like bands like The Vaccines and Arctic Monkeys, you should definitely check Sundara Karma out - they'll be right up your alley, and I'm sure you'll fall head over heels in love with them! They just aren't completely my cup of tea - or, at least, they aren't yet.

A Young Understanding
Run Away

This is the fourth time I've seen Bring Me The Horizon in the last six months, so you can see how much I enjoy their live shows. When you consider the fact that I've already got another two dates booked (their one-off Teenage Cancer Trust gig at the Royal Albert Hall, and their biggest headline show to date at the O2 Arena) it cements that even further.
The only problem with seeing any band that frequently is that they're playing the exact same setlist - well, apart from the live debut of 'Follow You', which was inserted in the middle and was easily the standout track of the evening.
While I really enjoyed Bring Me The Horizon's set at Alexandra Palace, I think the intimacy of this venue worked wonders for them. Whereas before the backing tracks and the effects all seemed a little too overpowering, it was all perfect for a room of this size - particularly the large screen at the back of the stage projecting lyrics and graphics to accompany each song they played. Everything felt closer than it was, and it meant that it was impossible not to be completely absorbed in the moment. You could not take your eyes off of the band.
The crowd reaction was absolutely outstanding. I've seen Bring Me The Horizon shows where people have hardly moshed, which isn't surprising with the rapid change of direction that their sound has taken across their last two albums, but the energy didn't let up the entire time that they were on stage. Electric Brixton is spread across three levels (the standard balcony up above, and a stage level standing area up three stairs from the sunken dance floor) and the dance floor area was a non-stop flood of movement, culminating in a wall of death during main set closer 'Antivist'. In larger venues it's hard to get such an effusive crowd reaction, because there are always people that don't want to participate - in this room, every single person was throwing themselves into the set, really living in the moment.
Musically, the band were flawless. It's one of the reasons I've always loved seeing them live: they don't make mistakes. It makes it hard to review them, because I don't really have anything to complain about! Well... There was one thing that was lacking: unfortunately vocalist Oli Sykes didn't have the opportunity to jump on Coldplay's table while performing 'Happy Song'. There weren't any rock 'n' roll antics at this show, but with the reaction the band have been getting due to that stunt, that's probably for the best.
If you haven't seen a Bring Me The Horizon show yet, what the hell have you been doing?! I can confirm you'll have a brilliantly fun night, and with more new songs being slipped into the set there's definitely going to be something for everyone, whether you're looking to circle pit until your bones break or have a melancholy singalong.
The next time I see them, they're going to be accompanied by an orchestra in one of the most legendary venues in London - it's certainly going to be a special show, and I hope they take the opportunity to pull some surprises out of the bag.

Happy Song
Go To Hell, For Heaven's Sake
House of Wolves
Follow You (live debut)
Chelsea Smile
Shadow Moses
True Friends
Can You Feel My Heart?
Blessed With A Curse

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