Bring Me The Horizon: metal royalty give intense, humorous and dramatic performance to Manchester crowd

On Saturday night in Manchester, the AO Arena was the only place to be
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Bring Me The Horizon is a name synonymous with fiery and passionate live performances, so fans in Manchester were no doubt ecstatic when they announced an AO Arena date for their ‘NX_GN' world tour. It had been a long wait since the dates went on sale in the summer, but on an icy cold evening- thousands of people waited patiently for the off, and it was a wait that proved to be well worth it. 

With the style of a classic 1990’s video game on the big screens, fans were invited to play the ‘Post Human’ game. This session kicked off with ‘DArkSide’, which saw BMTH take to the stage with the setting of a church, stained glass windows and all. 

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This stage setting intensified the blurred lines between heaven and hell that BMTH often brought to their music. A blazing rendition of ‘MANTRA’ seemed to really kick the night off, with front man Oli Sykes tempting thousands to stand, jump and sing their hearts out. 

The band were joined by dancers for several songs through the evening, and this extra dimension added to the eye-catching pyrotechnic show and often eerie, mesmerising stage setup. Sykes has been the captain of this particular ship since the very start, and his presence as a front man puts him up there with some of the greatest ever seen.

Shortly before the tour kicked off, BMTH announced the departure of keyboardist and backing vocalist Jordan Fish. a member who had been part of the band since 2013, he had been a major factor in their success for over a decade. The difference without him was noticeable, but by no means negative. Fish contributed a great deal to this band, of course, and I’m sure this won’t be forgotten by members or fans alike.

BMTH in Manchester BMTH in Manchester
BMTH in Manchester

‘Amen’ switched the set up to a further gear, with a burst of fire across the stage and Sykes covering as much space as physically possible. Ahead of the song, he had a polite message for the crowd, saying: “For safety reasons I can’t tell you what to do,” gearing up the crowd for something crazy, in response to which they obliged with some drastic mosh pits. 

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 The brutal, bloodcurdling chorus being backed by thousands of hardcore fans was very special to experience, and by this point almost everyone sitting around me was standing up. It would go on to be one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced at a gig in a long time. 

The narrative of the set list then turned onto the escape of ‘project angel dust’ a winged creature that appeared on the big screens and began destroying the church. This set BMTH up nicely into a new song, in fact their most recently released song from the very much anticipated, delayed new album (more on that later). ‘Kool-Aid’ has the pulsating rhythm of modern BMTH, and is an exciting insight into the new album.  

‘Shadow Moses’ has been one of the top metal songs for years now, and Sykes took the stage waving a red flare as the intro was joyously welcomed by the crowd. It is a song which encompasses what we’ve come to know and love about the band, and the faultless performance was a treat to witness. 

After a blood and thunder taste of ‘Kingslayer’, a track which has become a big hit and was recorded with Japanese band BabyMetal, BMTH slowed things down for just a bit. A beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘Strangers’ saw Sykes invite the crowd to get on each other's shoulders and make the song as intimate as possible in a venue of this size. 

The church of BMTHThe church of BMTH
The church of BMTH
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Strangers was genuinely moving - showing the true beauty in Sykes voice and the band's backing. The AO Arena was illuminated by torch light, the music weaved through the warm, electrically charged air. 

There was a bit of an interlude where Sykes had a chat with ‘EVE’, a figure who appears on the screens through BMTH these days. She asked the crowd if they liked the new album, which was awkwardly followed by her saying to Sykes ‘it’s not out yet, is it.’ The front man returned with there had been some issues with it but that it was nearly done. 

Other classics such as ‘Drown’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ rounded off the main set, and the encore was a strong trio of tracks. ‘Lost’ was a particular favourite of mine, and the icing on the cake was ‘Throne’ which saw BMTH sign off with flames, confetti and a display no one leaving the arena will forget in a hurry. 

Bring Me The Horizon are enjoying a well-deserved stint at the very top of UK metal music. They move through the gears effortlessly, and are guided through the vast ocean of life by their competent captain and front man. The sky remains the limit for the boys from Sheffield, and with a new chapter starting without a long-term member, the future will be an intriguing one. 

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