You’ve gotta get out of bed early in the afternoon to make it to a Bring Me The Horizon show this tour, bringing two other UK bands plus Aussie trailblazers Trophy Eyes.
Trophy Eyes are aptly placed on this line-up of ‘sad song salesmen’ and you can be way happy they’re selling those instead of drugs as referenced in their 'You Can Count On Me' track.
Frank Carter blazes out in red pants and, like a sheepdog, walks and handstands on the crowd. He’s had a tough time in the last couple of years, but thankfully made it out.
He thanked one of his bandmates for saving his life. He presents the track ‘Anxiety’ to anyone who’s currently struggling. “Reach out, talk to someone.”
Frank Carter - image © Erin Taylor
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Telecaster make these kinds of sounds. “There’s a devil inside of me / And he’s holding on / And I don’t know if he’s staying / Or for how long.”
You Me At Six come out with a mix of double denim, lab coat and all black vibes, with heavy Amy Meredith vibes... remember them?
“I wanna be where you are.” As the floor begins to actually fill up it feels more like a concert. This is why it helps to turn up for the support acts, people!
Singer Josh Franceschi incites a couple of circle pits. But like fire it has to want to burn, buddy. You gotta light these particles from the inside.
You Me At Six - image © Erin Taylor
Oli Sykes comes out to join them for ‘Bite My Tongue’ for the scream. In case you were concerned that because ‘the screaming has stopped’ in BMTH’s new material, let’s just allay those fears now – you are still going to hear it.
Ah. Now we see why the stage looked so small all night. There is a three-sided rectangular screen built, with two giant steps down from the drums and keyboard level that are also a screen, playing a science fiction-esque animation video with 'Welcome' flashing on the screen as well as whispered through the PA.
When the boys explode into ‘MANTRA’ there are purple streamers that hover weightless for a time and two guys on either side of the stage have smoke guns – nay, uzi's – and later, chutes on the top and bottom levels of the performing platforms are smoke geysers for these UK young guns.
BMTH - image © Erin Taylor
“How do you spell epiphany.” The stage is a lyric video, not that we need prompting. “Brisbane – do you feel that...?”
There’s a rectangle of LEDs over the stage, which make shiftable, linear sheet lights, surreal for an icy blast that they’ve captured physically. “Ladies and gentlemen, this song is called ‘Avalanche’.”Click here for more photos from the show.
Since they’ve changed direction musically, and after Oli’s vocal injuries and retraining, you’d be forgiven for being skeptical about how ‘traditionally BMTH’ the show would be. Vocally, he runs the whole gamut though with earth-shaking lows and impetuous highs, out front in khaki overalls, summoning and insulting circle pits.
“You can be our cheerleaders for the night. Let’s hear it!”
“S P I R I T. Spirit. Let’s hear it,” the throng complies.
BMTH crowd - image © Erin Taylor
The bass feels like it could be the sole responsible parent of the psychedelic shapes on the display of such a well-curated spectacle.
Drums are up on the back right, percussion and keys back left, guitars flanking Oli out front (he’s often out on the catwalk). The bass is a free unit across all levels and sides like a queen chess piece, punching away from anywhere.
“Don’t say you love me, ‘fala amo’ [translation: speak love].”Click here to read our recent interview with BMTH.
The ceiling rectangle tilts down on one side: the top part of the screen behind the drummer is an animated garden, the back of the two steps to the front are fish swimming around.
Sometimes the lighting rig moves like a see-saw. Cool, we are now actually in Stargate. “I’m on the edge of a knife... Oh what a wonderful life.”
Sparks from the ceiling, even. Well, this is what four million Insta followers gets you kids. One fancy light, smoke, sparks show for whatever music you want to make at the time.
BMTH - image © Erin Taylor
There’s a slight intermission with animation blurring lines between loofah, quills, hair and anemone textures. It does smell a little like a hairdressing salon from all the pyrotechnics, and the oboe/ clarinet and crisp female vocals playing over this visual further enhance the burnt-hair-dressing-hell fragrance.
The mood of the electronic music lifts and the colours become blue, indigo, fuchsia and a variety of neons before the BMTH critters emerge again.
“Can you tell from the look in her eyes?” The crowd echoes “we’re going nowhere”. “C’mon let’s do this together,” is the invitation for the soft part of ‘Follow You’, Oli inches away from the people. Oh look, butterflies and static. Perfect.
For ‘Nihilist Blues’ the graphics take over, then you realise Oli is dragging himself along the ground like a wounded caterpillar.
BMTH - image © Erin Taylor
This song goes out to the other three bands. “I’ve just got one question for you. ‘Can You Feel My Heart’?”
‘Drown’ is a delicious acoustic rendition: “Save me from myself, don’t let me drown.” After some time of darkness, the band returns with a radiant message. “I think we’re ‘Doomed’.”
This is part of the recovery he’s done since making it out of rehab, and wanting to use vocals that are more expressive – that can get across sarcasm, vulnerability, boredom, euphoria. Not just desperation.
“Anyone here had their heart broken?” Oli asks, then dishes out the ‘medicine’. “Watch me take the wheel like you not feel like you / Act like nothing’s real like you / So, I’m sorry for this / It might sting a bit.” Nope, this bliss right here is the opposite of pain.
BMTH have two shows left: tonight (12 April) at Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney) and tomorrow (13 April) at Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne).