BRING ME THE HORIZON
WHILE SHE SLEEPS
HANDS LIKE HOUSES
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
Review Cassandra Hale
The heavens opened relentlessly as the crowds made their way to Margaret Court Arena for a night of ear ringing bliss. There was nowhere to hide and the end result was a lot of people’s makeup looking like Alice Cooper’s without even trying! It was a young demographic, balanced by a few parents making the trip to escort their kids to what would be an amazing night of music with all the bells and whistles.
Kicking off proceedings was Australian band Hands Like Houses, they were well received by the crowd and have been touring enough of late to be a familiar name and sound for the screaming hoards. Their most recent release Dissonants is a terrific mix of clean versus dirty lyrics which is well balanced, and if full on screamo isn’t quite your thing you would enjoy Hands Like Houses.
While She Sleeps took the stage, immediately starting a circle pit and getting the fans pumping for the night to come. They were last on our shores for Soundwave four years ago and have been touring heavily of late. Their latest album You Are We is due for release in April this year, and while vocalist Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor admitted to having a throat like ‘Razors’ it definitely did not hold him back. Hurricane from the new album was a fantastic mix of almost choir like melodies mixed with screaming metalcore, a taste of what to expect on the new album. Loz joined the crowd in the pit for a sing-a-long, then clearly spent, laid on the stage to finish the out the song and gather some much-needed energy. The band were tight and left nothing in the tank as they left the stage.
A quick trip down memory lane to 2007, Gigantour, Festival Hall Melbourne, I was waiting backstage to meet Megadeth and a group of young boys from Sheffield London stuck their heads around the corner to sign autographs for some squealing fans. That was my first sighting of Bring Me The Horizon, and ten years later they are selling out multiple nights at Margaret Court Arena, a real credit to them in what can be a very tough industry to break into. Bring Me The Horizon has gone from strength to strength and amassed a huge fan base along the way. After canceling tours in September last year due to illness to boys were back and they weren’t just in fine form, they blew it out of the park, leaving no stone unturned in what was to be a killer night for all.
Opening with Happy Song off their latest album That’s The Spirit, I was thankful for my trusty ear plugs as the crowd went crazy. An amazing spectacle of smoke cannons, shooting streamers and screens lit up like Times Square were quite amazing and really showed that Bring Me The Horizon are living up to the huge expectations placed on their shoulders. A set list of 15 covered everything the screaming fans wanted, including Avalanche, Chelsea Smile, Shadow Moses and the much awaited Doomed.
A mass of circle pits, walls of death and crowd surfing matched the wicked sounds and thumping bass lines that shook through everyone in the arena. Flashing strobes mixed with awesome lighting and digital backdrops heated up Margaret Court to boiling point, when mixed with the thousands of hot sweaty bodies only needed a stray spark to start one hell of a fire. I really enjoyed the combination of percussionist and drummer, they played well off each other and added another layer to what was a polished performance by all band members.
Oliver Sykes delivers what a great front man should, the fans love him and are happy to oblige when he screamed, ‘push it back’ or ‘make a wall’, they did it with passion no matter what injuries they may suffer in the clash of the masses. Announcing he was happy to high five fans if they made the surf across the top, lead to a ‘surfin safari’ like no other, Oliver slapping sweaty hands as they were delivered above the hoards by the many hard working security guards.
Throne was the twelfth song but we all knew they had a few more in reserve, saving some of the best for last. A short break for a minute of two before they were back at it again, smoke cannons on steroids and fans in a frenzy as True Friends rang out. We all know that ‘true friends stab you in the front’ and there were hundreds of t-shirts telling you so in case you missed that memo. This was followed with Oh No and of course the one everyone was waiting for Drown. Smoke and confetti rained down on the fans, many shirtless, many shoeless and many in need of a shower. It was done for night one, but Bring Me The Horizon will be back to do it all again Monday tonight and I’m sure many fans will be returning again to get another fix. It was clear as an outsider that Bring Me The Horizon didn’t just bring the horizon to the fans they brought them the world.
HOT! HOT! HOT! HOT! The perfect way to begin proceedings in one of Melbourne’s classic days of heat, and what better venue than Rod Laver Arena. This iconic and august chamber ready to receive a BIG ASS crowd, and some BIG ASS celebrations of the Big Ass Tour.
The crowd are steadily flowing in, sweaty, willing and able to absorb the aural treasure to unfold before us. The Amity Affliction and A Day To Remember shirts adorn the primarily 20ish crowd, albeit somewhat stained with perspiration.
Hands Like Houses hailing from Canberra are first to open proceedings with their killer track I Am, received by the crowd with moshing aplenty.
The crowd, although not yet to the size expected, more than make up for numbers with enthusiasm overflowing, despite the temperature. This crowd amass in celebration, absolutely engaged from the outset, and clapping along to requests from the band.
Hands Like Houses hit the stage with as much energy as if headlining the event. Unrestrained and revelling in their role, the group remember to make mention of the unfortunate circumstances leading to their inclusion. With due reverence made to The Ghost Inside, Hands Like Houses are far from squandering this opportunity. The group enquire throught heir lead as to how many present have heard their music and easily, one third of the assembled launch their hands skyward. Glasshouse, a track from their upcoming release Dissonance, is met with a gleeful reception providing proof enough that their February release is eagerly anticipated. “Our job here tonight is to warm up the crowd so warm the fuck up and bounce, bounce, bounce”. The masses oblige willingly. Our kit master vigorously pounds the drums, just as energetically as our lead guitarist and bassist perform.
Perspectives was warmly received, while Introduce Species proved a crowd favorite with fist pumping right from the start. The impressive lighting and strobe flashes were equally as impressive for the band as for the crowd. Beware world because Hands Like Houses have a taste for this size arena and the sky is no longer the limit. ‘Melbourne is sick!!!’ is met with a roar before the band complete their appearance with New Romantics. Killer performance.
Jonny Boucher, the founder of Hope For The Day arrived on stage to present some welcome sentiments regarding suicide prevention and depression. Hopefully some assembled with their own demons will heed the call to unity, or even guide others to understanding and help. After all, even in the deepest pits of hopelessness, music and events like the Big Ass Tour provide ample evidence that life is indeed, worth living.
Motionless in White ease the ever mounting numbers into their set with a gentle keyboard and strings refrain, before the floating face of our drummer (due to painted neck) takes to the stage, closely followed by the remainder of this exciting a skilful ensemble. Dirty vocals from Chris are met huge screams and cheers from assembled, and constantly swelling crowd. Joshua is reaperesque, robed and hooded in black, with only a painted white face to distinguish him from the darkness. “I am fucking telling you move your god damn bodies”demands Chris, but really the crowd need little encouragement with moshing and circle pits accompanied by crowd surfing celebration of this astounding band. Asked if any Motionless In White fans are present, a mammoth volume of hands reach upward and screams fill the venue. With that Chris provides vindication and acknowledgement by exclaiming “this one’s for you” pointing crowd ward. Immaculate Misconception is pumped out so forcefully that the percussive power could be felt throughout your physical presence. “All my boys in the center right here – that’s what I’m fucking talking about” encourages the crowd even further. In Slipknot style, Motionless In White have so much going on and so much to see, but bring it all together in masterful style. I can only feel a little disappointed for those who missed their performance. Thoroughly thrilling and animated in crowd involvement.
I must admit that Abagail is a personal favourite and to see guitarists, Chris and Joshua head banging in unison was a highlight for me. The excitement builds even further as The Walking Dead theme song introduces more favourites. As the masses are invited to spell out America, our lead exclaims “I would move here if I wasn’t such an ignorant fucking yank. I’d move here in a second”. It seems to me the fans would be pleased with that move. The group pay further tribute to The Ghost Inside and a sensational, yet personalised cover of Linkin Park’s One Step Closer brings the house tumbling down.
Generation Lost is introduced in a techno dance style and the crowd love it, bouncing through set. Crowd surfers physically flying through the air, launching skywards in defiance of the heat and determined not to let energy diminish.
A careful assessment leads to the presumption that we are about 80% capacity and filling quickly, as A Day To Remember are greeted with excited cheers and screams. Coloured confetti explodes from cannons elevating the excitement to a new high. The masses are in moshing unison from the start. No gimmicks, just the music.
The stage was veiled in an ominous foreboding of darkness, sans all reference point before Jeremy inquires ‘How many of you mother fuckers came to dance?’ and the stage is bathed in brilliant light revealing a seething mass of jumping and fist pumping. With some timely band encouragement, the largest circle pit in my memory develops on the floor. This Is Where I Came From is a firm crowd favourite, fervently celebrated by all present. Rolls of toilet paper were thrown out from stage adding to the excitement. I can understand why… It was most thoughtful of the group to understand that none were going to miss any of the show by wasting time in the toilet.
Black stage again as the voice of Macaulay Culkin rings out.
From Jeremy, ‘I don’t expect you to do this because I have heard it is dangerous’ and an explanation of surfing a crowd surfer is more enticement that one pair need to give it a try. Much to Jeremy’s delight, they actually pull it off, albeit kneeboard style, because “nowhere is better at surfing than Australia”. Well done lads, did us proud.
Aussie beach balls appear and are thrown crowd ward to Better Off This Way, followed by Have Faith In Me. Jeremy asks all the ladies to sit on someone’s shoulders “coz this song goes out to all the ladies”. To my amazement one lady obliges by sitting on the shoulders of a dude, who was already on the shoulders of another dude. Yep, Melbourne is nuts.
My Life For Hire is provided an extra expletive in the introduction and dedicated to Soundwave along with ‘one of the best fucking tours’. Shirts get thrown to the crowd and Jeremy comes down to the barrier to say g’day to front row, then a stick figure drawing of him appears on the wall and we are led into a ‘Happy Birthday to Jeremy”.
Kevin and Jeremy provide an acoustic If It Means A Lot To You, providing timely opportunity for a rest, accompanied by lighters and phones providing the ambiance. Then an acoustic introduction to Champagne SuperNova build to the bands return, as the crown sends back the la, la, la sing along
All I Want provides sound track to the crowd reacting in a manner that can be best described, utilising contemporary colloquialisms, as going ape shit. Suitable recharged after acoustics the crowd resume the bouncing and singing back to the band in sensational style. Jeremy requests that he ‘wants everyone to stand and feel the earth fucking shake’ to their finale. An absolute blinder.
Now on to The Amity Affliction. The stage is completely bathed in white light, in itself a contrast to the darkened stage provided for A Day To Remember.
Lights go out and the crowd cheers at unprecedented volume. All attention is to the stage. Thumping on the drums with corresponding white lights, sees the crowd go nuts with hands in the air. The Amity Affliction tracks are sung back at the band impressively verbatim. The crowd surfers start off early demonstrating the monumental popularity of The Amity Affliction. Black and silver confetti rained over crowd.
A circle pit is requested from the band to the pit and a hot, exhausted crowd find more energy to oblige. There is remarkably less crowd movement for The Amity Affliction, perhaps because they are tired, but I really believe that no one was willing to lose their vantage point for this incredibly talented group. The evidence of this is no hesitation in jumping when asked to but moving from their position was not an option. Who could blame the audience for just standing and staring in bewildered awe at the skilful might of Amity Affliction? No huge fanfare here. Just the guys and instruments letting the music speak for itself. Highlights like Chasing Ghosts and The Weigh Down will never leave my memory, and provide a lifetime’s gleeful reflection. That is until next time they visit our shores.
Ample ass is indeed an apt description for this tour and, to our delight much ass was kicked tonight. Big Ass Tour was exactly that and my big ass will happily carry the memories for years to come. Absolutely sensational.