Bring Me The Horizon @ All Points East, Victoria Park – 31st May 2019
31st May 2019 – the day of Bring Me The Horizon’s biggest show to date and indeed their first headline slot at a festival. Anticipation is high as the sun rises over East London’s Victoria Park, ready for another day of All Points East festival that saw acts like The Chemical Brothers and The Strokes headline the week prior. After entering the festival just before 2pm to a surprisingly small crowd (probably due to a slight lack of tickets sold) I headed straight to the North Stage in anticipation of Scottish five-piece Lotus Eater. Despite only being the second band to perform all day, the energy was palpable and a complete contrast to the almost tranquil nature of the festival – performing all seven songs off Social Hazard, their release from March, leaving a lasting impression on anyone and everyone in attendance of this barnstorming set. After this I trekked over to the East Stage (Main Stage) for the opening act, Scarlxrd, who blends together the unusual mixture of heavy metal and trap music for an energetic performance, similar to the levels of Lotus Eater. This performance was enjoyable but overly notable moments were scarce, other than the DJ spending more time jumping around the stage and making obscene gestures than actually deejaying, which if anything did not have a much impact on Scarlxrd’s performance as an individual.
After this I took some time to wander around the festival as it was a beautiful pre-summer’s day and I was interested to see what the grounds had to offer – there was a wide variety of food stalls from every inch and breadth of the globe as well as various guest areas that offered different levels of comfort. This was short lived as I popped back to the North Stage to watch up-and-coming quartet Yonaka who blend heavy riffs and electronic elements with a punky on-stage presence, demanding participation from every member the embarrassingly small crowd for such a wild band. Their half an hour set left me wanting more and a hope that their brand-new debut album Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow will assert them as a live band not to be reckoned with.
I stuck around for the start of Sleeping with Sirens but wisely decided to move on swiftly after a poor start to the set, leaving me with the impression that most of the audience was there purely for nostalgic reasons. Next up for me was a little bit of Nothing But Thieves who did not seem themselves today, not awful, just not great either. Upholding the expectation of their enormous live sound, the band still did not deliver as they so often do, leading me to believe that they were potentially too high on the bill, especially considering some of the sets I experienced earlier in the day. After a drink in the VIP area I decided to head out to watch Run The Jewels, a band becoming a regular at UK rock festivals after an appearance with Queens of the Stone Age in Finsbury Park last year. Run The Jewels did their usual festival ‘greatest hits’ set that includes fan favourites like ‘Stay Gold’ and ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’ and did not disappoint – the duo brought their laid back but passionate live show, with Killer Mike dedicating ‘A Report to All Shareholders’ to his cousin after shedding a tear, assuming that a small tragedy had occurred.
Now came the immediate build up to the headliner of the day, Bring Me The Horizon [BMTH]. After a lengthy 45-minute wait after Run The Jewels finished, the ‘Welcome to MANTRA’ track plays from tape as the band begin to take stage one by one before plunging straight into ‘MANTRA’, the first single of latest album Amo. My thoughts before the gig about having found a perfect place to stand went out the window the second ‘MANTRA’ dropped as I watched pints go everywhere and pour down on everyone who was not holding one. After some run of the mill tracks like ‘Avalanche’ and ‘House of Wolves’, the band played ‘Wonderful Life’, another single from Amo, but this time with a twist. The group had promised surprises for their biggest show to date and this was the first – the band brought out Dani Filth (lead singer of Cradle of Filth) who features on the song and in the music video, coming out holding the same shopping trolley he is wheeling in the video. This brought the house down (for those that knew who he was, I have the feeling it went over a few people’s heads) and set the evening up nicely for the rest of the show, packed full with outfit changes, more guest appearances and a mix of old and new songs, providing a fully package for BMTH fans.
After ‘Wonderful Life’, the group played fan favourites ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ and ‘Happy Song’, for which frontman Oli Sykes was screaming at fans to mosh harder and wider, creating pits all throughout the 50,000 fans in attendance. This sheer aggression coupled with the pyromania engulfed stage that even KISS would be proud of was quite the sight and proved that this show meant as much to the band as it did the fans. After a brief appearance from Sam Carter (Architects) on ‘The Sadness Will Never End’, a track they had not played in three years, Mr. Sykes plunged into a heartfelt story about how he had been on a journey through rehab before 2013’s Sempiternal. Like I said before, this gig meant just as much to the band. He also spoke about how this gig was a culmination of all the stick that the band has garnered over the years juxtaposed with the success they have found, showing that it did not matter if people did not like their music as many people did believe in it – this set up an acoustic rendition of fan favourite ‘Sleepwalking’ which was poetic and beautiful. In very Bring Me The Horizon fashion, this moment was more the calm before the storm as they plunge head first into ‘Pray for Plagues’, one of their oldest and most beloved tracks by fans. ‘You say we’ve gone soft but I think it’s you lot that have’ Oli screams to the fans, mocking criticism the band has faced in reference to the lack of mosh pits he sees (a theme that is rather consistent at BMTH shows).
The show was well underway with the band playing ‘Shadow Moses’ and ‘Nihilist Blues’, with the latter being a more experimental track off Amo, but it proved to be a gamble that paid off as the crowd went wild for it. Sykes proclaimed that the only gig that was potentially better than All Points East was the band’s Royal Albert Hall show in 2016, and the only way to ensure that APE was better was by replicating a song the band performed with a choir, just as the did in 2016. The band came out from an encore telling the crowd how there was only two songs left which ended up being ‘Throne’ and ‘Drown’, however nobody could complain at this point with the band playing over an hour and a half with surprises and a wide plethora of tunes from their 20 years of performing.
All things considered, this gig was a humungous success, despite the quiet sound that seemed to be consistent throughout all the All Points East shows. This gig felt special, a gig that a member of the audience can look back on and reminisce one of the greatest live shows this band has ever performed, in a career where I still believe they have the best to come – the sky is the limit.