[LIVE REVIEW] Bring Me The Horizon @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 13/04/2019

As the Melbourne footy season continues to ramp up, it was amongst hordes of footy fans that the eager early bird Bring Me The Horizon fans were making their way through the sports precinct to Rod Laver Arena.

Having been a few short years since they were last on our shores, and also having released one of their most polarising albums to date, it was bound to be a very interesting night ahead.

With such a huge line up of supports, it was an early start for Australia’s own Trophy Eyes. Hailing from Newcastle, these punk rockers have garnered quite the following both here and abroad since they formed in 2013. With three albums under their belt, from each of 2014, 2016 and 2018 they are very hard working and have appeared alongside a large array of big-name acts and done several big tours, stamping their name into the hearts and minds of many. Playing tracks such as You Can Count On Me, Lavender Bay, and the very catchy More Like You in the first part of their set, they were warming the crowd nicely, as the numbers in the arena steadily grew.

Hurt, Something Bigger Than This. Chlorine and Friday Forever completed the back end of their time on the stage, and the audience gave them a rousing round of applause. The fact they were the only homegrown act on the bill, is a big statement, and the love shown to them was huge.

You Me At Six have been a class act on previous visits Down Under, so I expected no less this time around. Having been together for the past 15 years, they have achieved much success with several of their albums, in the UK and Australia. They have been highly regarded by their peers, and as such, have toured with some very heavy hitters like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, All Time Low and 30 Seconds To Mars.

Surrey is home for these five lads, and having only had one line up change means these guys are a very tight outfit. Five albums later and their fanbase here has grown remarkably, as the most loyal ones jostled for a prime position on the front rail. Opening with Fast Forward, it was clear right from the start that this was going to be a killer set. The energy, the sound, the lighting were all just perfect.

Moving right on into 3AM and then Straight to My Head, the crowd sang along loudly and projected their energy right back to the stage.

Next was the moment many had been waiting for, when BMTH’s own Oli Sykes joined the boys on stage,  to perform their song Bite My Tongue, which was released on the 2011 album, Sinners Never Sleep and made it to #3 on the UK album charts. Oli was almost shrouded in a black hoodie and the sound of the crowd roaring was near deafening. He exited rapidly once his part was done, leaving the band to bask in the glory of the stage.

Give and Underdog was next up and the crowd vocals were continuing to get louder and louder as the set progressed. Josh Franceschi was his effervescent and energetic self, giving us the trademark high energy performance that he produces so well.

IOU, and Room To Breathe closed out the set and the cheers of the crowd was evidence enough of the level of enjoyment received. I had previously only seen a snippet of these guys in a festival set, but they impressed me greatly. Enough so, that I would endeavour to see them on each and every return they intend on making here, including this tour, which has seen some of their finest live performances, including this one.

With a slot as prestigious as the last opener for a band like BMTH, it was time to see Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes show us what they were made of. With a name which conjures up images of a sixties rock and roll group, it was with much interest that I watched yet another English band strut their stuff on the famous Rod Laver Arena stage.

Being only four years young, and with a few albums already behind them, they hit the ground running given that Frank Carter had already shared success with the likes of Pure Love and Gallows, the latter having performed at Soundwave in 2010.

It was that experience and success that gave a solid foundation to the band and led to an immediate following when they were formed in 2015. And this following were out in force as they hit the stage.

Exuding such a super high energy, they opened with Crowbar and Lullaby, which Frank explained was written when his daughter was up late at night after eating too much chocolate! He asked the crowd to jump around as if to have done the same, which they did with vigour, and Frank rode the hands of the people in the pit, doing handstands before returning to the stage.

Wild Flowers followed, and then Anxiety which was preceded by a very heartfelt appeal by Frank to reach out to people, friends, family and strangers alike to help ease the burden of what has become a major issue in the current day. It was very touching to say the absolute least.

Closing off their set with Devil Inside Me and I Hate You, which also came with what seemed initially like a spiel about special people in your life, only for it to actually be about hating someone so much you wished they were dead. Not exactly a popular topic, but emotion-charged nonetheless, and a thought I am sure we have all had at some point in our lives.

As the house lights came up again for what we knew would be the final changeover, I was amazed to see just how much the crowd had swelled. The standing room on the floor was akin to a sardine can, and most of the seating had now been filled.

So many fans were hot and sweaty enough already, and as they came and went to the bars and the bathrooms, it was clearly in preparation for the mayhem which was to come.

Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) are yet another band from Sheffield in England. And much like You Me At Six, have been together for 15 years, often playing together throughout that time. Consisting of Oliver (Oli) Sykes on vocals, Matt Kean on bass, Lee Malia on lead guitar, Matt Nicholls on drums and Jordan Fish on keys, BMTH have become a formidable touring partner for many a big name act, and are no strangers to Australian crowds, with several tours here in recent years.

Enduring a few shifts in style over the journey, the faithful have stuck by them and grown with them, as they took the view that every album should sound different and show some growth. From their debut album Count Your Blessings through to the current album Amo, BMTH has crossed over from death/metalcore to alternative rock, and also elements of pop and electronica.

One thing is for sure though, love them or hate them, Bring Me The Horizon put on one stellar live show.

With lots of red lights, Bring Me The Horizon made an immediate impact as they opened with Mantra much to the delight of fans. The noise of the crowd was some of the loudest I have ever heard.

A huge screen taking up the whole backdrop to the stage, as well as a strip screen along the step up, with imagery to compliment every beat made for a very impressive stage presence.

Avalanche and The House Of Wolves were next, and Oli’s voice was as strong and powerful as ever, which I am sure was very reassuring, due to him having some vocal issues on and off over his career.

From the album That’s the Spirit, came Happy Song followed by Mother Tongue and Wonderful Life, both new songs from Amo.

One of the things that really stood out, was the imagery on the screens, it complimented the music so well.

In as far as audience participation, it did not matter if it were an older or newer song being played, the crowd were putting their all into singing at the very tops of the voices.

Oli incited the crowd to create a massive circle pit, citing the standard that Sydney-siders said we could not compete. Initially he was unimpressed with the efforts, but the crowd soon got their act together and got a significant sized circle pit generated, which from where I was seated, looked spectacular.

The middle section of the set consisted of a great mix of tracks, including The Best Is Yet To Come, fan favourite Shadow Moses, Follow You and Nihilist Blues.

Can You Feel My Heart was next, and some crowd banter made for some light hearted fun. This led into Antivist and the very much awaited acoustic version of Drown. This was clearly another crowd favourite as the singing from the crowd almost “drowned” out Oli at a point. This was actually my own personal highlight.

While taking a very brief break before the encore, from my vantage point, you could see that a large sign was being held up by a fan on the shoulders of another. And whilst due to angle I could not see the exact wording, I could see that they were making their way through the crowd to get as close to the stage as possible.

Upon returning to the stage, Oli read the sign, and let out an expletive or two, before launching into Doomed. It was during this song that he signalled for the sign, screwed it up and mocked wiping himself with it.

As the first notes of the next song rang out, Oli, called for it to stop, and spoke with his band mates, and said “So are we doing this?” He then turned to the audience and asked who made the sign, and said something about given they had gone to that much effort, he would play what they had asked, but the consequence of that, was that he wanted the floor cleared, and the maker of the sign to stand right in the middle, as “punishment“.

Whilst it may have been a “punishment ” for the punter, for the fans it was just a pure treat to hear a medley of older tracks, that had not been anticipated to be played at all. The Comedown/Medusa/Diamonds Aren’t Forever/Re:They Have No Reflections.  And the reaction from the masses was nothing short of amazement and sheer gratitude for having been taken back in time.

Medicine and Throne completed the encore, and what was one of the best shows I have been to.

When you put together the quality music, with a fantastic showman up front, coupled with an amazing lighting and imagery display, there is so little to fault. In addition to having supports who suited the line up so perfectly, and made for one hell of a memorable show.

Review Contributed by Jodi Maree

Gallery by Jose Sanchez