From sold out arenas to the Sunset Strip, the Sheffield unit explode with youthful energy.
Words, Photos by Luis (@luis.hoa):
After cryptic teases on posters across Los Angeles, Bring Me The Horizon announced an intimate performance at the legendary Whisky a Go Go about a week ago. Though a 500-capacity limit may seem far from what one could consider "intimate", Oli Sykes and co. have grown in great lengths, leading to performances amidst sold-out crowds at the Wembley Arena, Royal Albert Hall, and The Forum. That said, a show at The Whisky was a rare chance to seeing the band with a stripped down stage production. It served as the ideal warmup to their co-headlining performance at tonight's Knotfest Los Angeles, which finds the band alongside Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Code Orange, and more on a Banc of California Stadium stage.
As mentioned, there were no large digital screens, pyrotechnics, or elaborate visuals, just Bring Me The Horizon in raw form. The show was opened by Jeris Johnson and a t thrilling SeeYouSpaceCowboy, a formidable set of acts that lit up the venue early on. The performers had energy levels through the roof and primed the crowd for madness. The Whisky stage was now set and all hell was about to break loose as the lights slowly dimmed.
Bring Me The Horizon walked down the stairs in tan colored suits, met by a roaring applause that grew as frontman Oli Sykes walked down the stairs last. The band's expansive discography provides a variety of great set openers, but the band came for the neck and ripped through Dear Diary, from last year's POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR. Surely enough, crowds pushed forward and a mosh pit opened up towards the center of the standing area. No photo pits were established per usual at The Whisky, making it all the more difficult to hold steady and get some shots, making today's photographs all the more rewarding to publish.
There was no shortage of cheers as the band kept us all moving and breaking a sweat with a crowd-pleasing set of standouts that includes Shadow Moses, MANTRA, Happy Song, Teardrops, and Kingslayer to name a few.
Oli, Lee Malia (guitar), Jordan Fish (keyboards, second vocals), Mat Nicholls (drums), Matt Kean (bass), and John Jones (guitar) had little mobility on that stage, but that did little to affect their precision and improvised bits that were well welcome. New single DiE4U was among those best received with many chanting the chorus in unison, "You know I would die for you!" The infectious chorus is anthemic and is likely to fare well on festival stages, like tonight's Knotfest.
The House of Wolves from 2013's Sempiternal was a favorite that many will note as a standout from the night for Oli proved his owls are as vicious as ever. "Push it back", says Oli as he encourages the crowds to disperse in anticipation of the track's breakdown. The lines commence, "And when you die, the only kingdom you'll see, is two foot wide and six foot deep!" I held on to dear life for my camera and braced for the pressure that came with having a few hundred bodies pushed towards each other as a few took the crowdsurfing route and rolled atop us all.
Many surfed their way onto the stage and shook hands with the frontman, a sign of gratitude for the power that the band's music has had on many concertgoers that evening. Malia, Oli, and Fish remained onstage for an acoustic performance of Follow You, which like DiE4u, brought everyone together for an intimate moment. Drowned closed the main set and as the band walked back upstairs, "One more song!" kept being chanted by the crowd. As they came back down, Bring Me The Horizon were joined by the electrifying Yungblud for Obey. Oli and Yungblud crowd dove and sang amidst us all in community. Can You Feel My Heart and Throne then followed, putting an exclamation point on a legendary night.
Wednesday's performance at The Whisky was the true definition of blood, sweat, and tears. While one could say a better example is that of a sold-out arena or stadium show, these club level showings are what deliver a sense of nostalgia for a young band from Sheffield still finding their footing. Fans who have followed since the band's Count Your Blessings (2006) and Suicide Season (2008) deathcore origins met those who hopped on the hype train from That's The Spirit and onward, bridging eras for a show rooted in community spirit. Even if you were skeptical of how the band's trajectory would play out following a huge sonic shift, there's no denying that what Bring Me The Horizon did at The Whisky sets them apart from the world's best rock acts today. Bodies flew, tears were shed, and those in attendance witnessed a night many will never forget. As someone who had Suicide Season on constant rotation during my middle school years, I surely won't.