Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Bring Me The Horizon - O2 Arena, 31/10/16

Image result for bring me the horizon halloween 2016

The venue put the stage times up on their website wrong, so I actually missed the beginning of Don Broco's set.
Walking in to the arena to the sight of the band in full cowboy outfits was startling, and it's going to be a moment I'm never going to forget. Surprisingly they were the only band that made a real effort at this Halloween extravaganza, which is one of the reasons I love Don Broco so unconditionally - they aren't afraid to make fools of themselves, particularly in the name of playing a good show.
The non-inclusion of 'Thug Workout' felt like a mistake. Don Broco's sound verges on pop - particularly during 'Automatic', the penultimate track in their short six song set - and while Bring Me The Horizon aren't as heavy as they once were, a large portion of their fans still value their old style. 'Thug Workout' verges on screamo at points, with thumping drums and a squealing guitar line emphasising the heavier sound that Don Broco have veered away from, but this throwback would have worked brilliantly with this crowd. This was also Don Broco's biggest show to date, rivaled only by their arena tours supporting You Me At Six and 5 Seconds of Summer, and it would have been poignant to hear one of their earliest tracks performed in front of such a large audience.
Don Broco are the band with the biggest crossover potential around at the moment. Beginning to take mainstream audiences by storm, and already cemented in the hearts of the rock community who've been watching their rise, it's impossible not to feel affection towards these four and their constant enthusiasm. Encouraging the audience to crouch down and jump up during the build in 'Automatic' proved that with another couple of albums under their belts Don Broco could easily headline this venue. I'm sure writing album number three going to be top of their priorities in the coming months, particularly following their recent signing to SharpTone Records in the US.

You Wanna Know
What You Do To Me
Money Power Fame

I'm only going to say this once: Enter Shikari should have headlined.
It was obvious within the first couple of moments that I was experiencing something remarkably special. Before the band had even set foot on the stage the crowd were chanting along to every word of their self-titled opening track, screaming "and still we will be here, standing like statues". Out they came, drummer Rob Rolfe spookiest of them all in a skeleton onesie, vocalist Rou Reynolds exhibiting his boundless energy within moments by crazily dancing across the stage in his glittery purple suit and bright white shoes. As the song built to a climax, the chant repeating more and more furiously, the band froze in the middle of playing their instruments, strobe lights the only thing moving on the entire stage for a tense few moments that proved just how brilliant all four members are as performers.
I was instantly hooked.
This wasn't my first time seeing Enter Shikari, but it's been so long since their 2013 Warped UK headline set that I'd forgotten how wonderful they are (particularly because their set at Reading festival in 2014 was plagued with technical difficulties).
With their video screen alternating between looping gifs of dancing folks and dinosaurs running, it was hard to decide whether to keep an eye on the background or the tornado of a man rushing around on the stage. Rou is a showman and he fully embraced that role, skipping back and forth across the stage without a care in the world and shocking me with his ability to stay upright while moving at such a velocity.
I hadn't previously heard some of the songs that they played, having stopped avidly following the band after the release of second album 'Common Dreads', which makes my intense focus on their set all the more unexpected. I struggle to concentrate if I'm not intimiately familiar with the song being played - my attention drifts and I start mentally preparing my review - and that's one of the reasons this has taken me so long to write: I was so caught up in the moment that I nearly forgot to write down the setlist, let alone observations and comments regarding the set!
There's just something about these guys that is completely absorbing. From the surprise inclusion of 'Juggernauts' - a song that I first heard live back in 2009 which has stayed shockingly relevant - to the electric response to 'Sorry, You're Not A Winner' - every person in the crowd joining in during that clapping section - and the extended outro remix of 'The Anaesthetist', there was something in this set for fans of every era. These four have been writing arena songs since the band began, and they'd never even realised.
The new material is also brilliant.
Both 'Redshift' and 'Hoodwinker' were released this year, so I wasn't surprised that they were included in the set, but I was blown away by how brilliant they both sound live. I fell in love with 'Redshift' when I first played it - something about the song strikes a chord deep within me - and the second the notes began ringing out I was covered in goosebumps that stayed for the full length of the song.
Then there was 'Hoodwinker', which I hadn't heard before the show: I waited to be able to hear it for the first time in such a memorable location, and the venomous nature is a refreshing return to form for a band that I'd almost written off. Closing with the lyric "Who do you take me for, a fool? Cheeky fucker!", it allows the band to both make a statement and show off their unflappable personalities - almost as brilliant as that "What? What? What?" section during the breakdown in 'Sorry, You're Not A Winner'. Unafraid of playing with conventions, I'll be damned if you can find me a band that are anything like Enter Shikari.
I'm pretty certain they're going to be the support for Bring Me The Horizon's American Nightmare tour in April (based off of Rou sharing that the band were going to be off the scene for "six months or something [...] We're gonna tuck ourselves away, we're gonna hibernate, and we're gonna go write the best album we've ever written" and the tour announcement stating "Lock your doors", a lyric from the beginning of 'Hoodwinker').
I'm just hoping they won't leave it too long before announcing another tour in the UK, because I've never regretted missing a show more than their Alexandra Palace headline (a live recording of which is being released later this month).

Enter Shikari
The Last Garrison
Sorry, You're Not A Winner
The Anaesthetist (Reso Remix outro)
The Appeal & The Mindsweep Pt. II

Because I'm going to see Bring Me The Horizon again on Saturday, I'm planning on doing a full review of that show, but I have to admit that I was disappointed with this show.
Last year, Bring Me The Horizon did this for Halloween:

Image result for bring me the horizon halloween

So when they added a Halloween show after I'd already bought tickets to the tour, I was disappointed. It wasn't until Enter Shikari were added that I decided to go to two shows, and I was expecting something huge.
The lights went out. A tense intro tape began to play, the entire wall of screens playing out a threatening video to welcome the band to the stage. They walked out... and were all kitted out in head-to-toe black. Huh.
Way to make a big impact at your first time headlining the O2 Arena.
It could have been nerves. Three years ago, on the eve of the release of 'Sempiternal', the band claimed that they were "never gonna sell out arenas", so they were proving themselves wrong on a humongous scale. 
But this show was riddled with issues. Oli Sykes vocal is still struggling following his recent illness which resulted in the cancellation of their Australian tour, displayed instantly with ear-piercing screeching high notes littering 'Happy Song' and a struggle to perform through 'Avalanche' and the roaring 'Chelsea Smile', the earliest song that made the cut for this setlist. 
The reintroduction of 'Crucify Me' after five years was a relief. Having seen the band so many times in the last two years, I was almost dreading this show because of the repetitive nature of their setlists: the band know what works well, and seem almost afraid to deviate from that structure. But getting to experience a song that's so vastly different to the rest of the set, sprinkled with dubstep-overtones and a recorded vocal from Canadian singer Lights, broke up the show and sparked my interest. (Shame that it seemed to have been a one-off, as it seems to have been removed from their set the following night). 
But other than that this was a very standard Bring Me The Horizon show. I can't deny that they deserve to be headlining arenas, because they've worked their ass off since the release of 'That's The Spirit' to make their way here, but I feel as though they should have pulled something more special out of the bag to make their mark on this iconic venue. Yes, the eerily-relevant videos on the screens added to the experience - watching lions killing their prey, men almost shooting themselves in the heads and tanks driving down the streets in occupied territories being played out in HD quality - but while that kind of edginess grabs attention in the moment, it doesn't make it memorable.
Oli's introductory speech for 'Doomed' was a very tender and poignant moment, sharing "death is on my mind so much it makes me wanna die" and "if life is one big fucking game then I don't wanna play". He's definitely someone that's easy to relate to, particularly following his recent separation from his wife, and it explains why the fans idolise him so utterly and completely, but the band can't rest on their laurels just because they're adored. They need to pull it out of the bag every single time. 
Okay, I'm going to say it again, because it sums up everything I'm trying to say: Enter Shikari should have headlined.

Happy Song
Go To Hell, For Heaven's Sake
The House of Wolves
Shadow Moses
Chelsea Smile
Follow You
Crucify Me
Can You Feel My Heart
True Friends
Oh No

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