To be a fan of Bring Me The Horizon back in the early nougties was once a bi-word for scene culture and all things deathcore. The boys from Sheffield built a strong and loyal following through their heavy sound and metal riffs, and never would it have been immediately obvious that such a band could be played on daytime Radio 1 and sell out the 11,000 strong Wembley Arena. Their recent shift from death metal to a more electronic/metalcore sound has catapulted them into a wider audience and success after success.
The arena is only half full for the first band of the night, the Florida rockers Sleepwave. This metalcore duo only formed a few years ago, and their youth shows as the general reception is very lukewarm. Still, the band radiates energy and manages to get the crowd on their feet into their second song.
The roar as Issues joins the stage reflects the growing popularity of this band. They are one-of-a-kind, mixing hip hop and metalcore with their DJ-break downs and scream vocals. Clean vocalist Tyler Carter (wearing rather fetching Union Jack trousers) gets the band jumping in sync and smiles like a kid in a candy shop when the crowd sing ‘Mad at Myself’ flawlessly back at him. Their energy is infections and they end on a massive high, inciting a massive reaction from the steadily filling arena.
Young Guns are well establish and well loved, having been on the scene for nearly 5 years now. Gus Wood’s smooth and echoing vocals bring on tune after tune, and it’s clear to see you are watching a band that has recently hit its prime. All dressed in black, the guys are smooth and professional letting their anthem-esque tunes do the work for them. The stadium is filled with lights during ‘Stitches’ and they get the crowd down on the ground ready for an insane reaction to their latest hit ‘I Want Out’. Their entire performance was flawless, and this is a band well deserving of their recent success.
Psychedelic patterns, dystopian backdrops and ethereal music greet the crowd as Bring Me The Horizon placate the eager crowd. Olly Sykes enters full swing with ‘Shadow Moses’ and a moshpit breaks the crowd within seconds. Pyrotechnics and lights from the onset, the band seamlessly moves into ‘Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake’. The fandom’s fierce loyalty shows, every word is screamed back at Sykes tenfold.
Whether you love or hate heavy music you cannot deny that this crowd feels something, the radiating energy and emotion is something to behold. The Bring Me boys are equally loyal to their fans, with Sykes diving into the crowd three songs in as they play songs from their earlier deathcore releases. Critics have said that Olly Sykes has lost the depth of his original screams and there is some truth in this, but his emotional intensity and raw stage presence makes up for any loss of quality.
The night takes an emotional turn when the band brings on their original guitarist Curtis Ward to play ‘Pray for Plagues’. Keyboardist Jordan Fish leaves the stage and the original Bring Me The Horizon line up is reunited for one song. The crowd splits into a massive moshpit, a suitably large reaction for such a poignant moment.
Their lyrics are hardly known for their religious messages and positive undertones, expressed beautifully when a sea of middle fingers greets the start of ‘Antivist’. The band leave the stage after ‘Sleepwalking’, but the deafening screams, stamps and claps of the hungry crowd bring them straight back as they dive into ‘Hospital for Souls’ and ‘Drown’, ending on their biggest hit ‘Can You Feel My Heart’. There was not one song without a moshpit and not one moment where the crowd were not audibly singing their hearts out, the energy of the gig was beyond explanation.
I am allowed backstage after the show, where friends and family of the band and production gather over champagne. Everyone is commenting on how incredible it is that a band once so niche could hit it so big, and it is clear that this show was a resounding success. The whole set was cutting edge, emotionally intense and widely appealing whether you like it heavy or clean. Who knew that the emo band from Sheffield could have got this far? They’ve hit it big, they smashed Wembley and now we must wonder what other colossal occasions could be on the horizon?