I personally had known of Bring Me The Horizon for a few years now. However, from what I had heard, I knew that they were ultimately classified as a “heavy” metalcore band and therefore far from anything that I considered listenable at the time. Fast forward to my friend playing That’s The Spirit upon its 2015 release, and my thoughts were definitely what many other fans’ thoughts probably were at the time: “Wait, this is Bring Me The Horizon?” Definitely “softer” and more pop than anything the band has ever done before, I decided to give the album a good listen myself. As a result, That’s The Spirit quickly became one of my favorite albums of 2015.
Not long after, I came across a YouTube video of their live performance at UK music festival Reading Festival. I then realized that Bring Me The Horizon was in the height of their career. They were metaphorically in their “Ocean Avenue and Louder Now days.” They were receiving public media play, so the day before they came to Chicago, I decided to track down a ticket to see both them and Underoath live at Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.
Beartooth and Underoath
While I unfortunately missed a majority of Beartooth’s set, Underoath put on a fantastic performance. Despite the fact that most of the crowd was not familiar with them, the metalcore band were still able to instill high energy as every one got more and more excited for Bring Me The Horizon.
Bring Me The Horizon
Opening with “Happy Song,” the ultimate anthem and probably the heaviest track from the entire album, from the second the song began the crowd spelled out “S-P-I-R-I-T” at the top of their lungs and right before the insane breakdown hit prior to the first verse, one of the best moments out of the entire set was when every one shouted “Let’s go!”
The next two songs were from 2013 album Sempiternal, arguably their best album of their entire discography. “Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake” and “The House Of Wolves” both were overall well-performed. Following was the sixth single from That’s The Spirit, called “Avalanche” and soon after, fan-favorite “Shadow Moses” where frontman and lead vocalist Oliver Sykes let the crowd scream the iconic lyrics “This is sempiternal.”
Another song that sounded great was from Suicide Season, “Chelsea Smile.” However, the following song performed actually didn’t sound as great live compared to the recorded version. “Follow You” from That’s The Spirit may at first appear on the surface to be about mindlessly falling head over heels for someone to the point where you are completely oblivious to how emotionally or mentally abusive the relationship may actually be. But when you apply it to the world events that are happening today, perhaps it is really about how society is mindlessly following the media and its depiction of the political unrest.
The next song the band played was “Sleepwalking,” a song that almost depicts a horror-esque lullaby and is dedicated to those who are or who have ever suffered from depression. Following was “Doomed” and then “Can You Feel My Heart,” possibly the closest the band’s music has ever gotten to being classified as an EDM song in terms of its instrumentals.
“Antivist” is another song referring to political unrest. While the lyric “Middle fingers up if you don’t give a fuck” could be considered one of the most iconic, another lyric from the song that is extremely applicable to today is the line, “If you really believe in the words that you preach, get off your screens, and onto the streets.” After all, of course it is easy to just tweet and post on social media how the world and society are shit and there is so much we can and should do to make it better, but in reality, those words in text mean nothing, and ultimately it is action that will bring change.
The next three songs were also quite mediocre if I’m being completely honest. “Throne,” “True Friends,” and “Oh No,” all from That’s The Spirit, were definitely the weakest songs to hear live. Perhaps it is because all three of those songs are almost too produced to the point where it makes it difficult to replicate a live version of the original. Finally, the band closed with their single and one of their most meaningful songs, “Drown.” Another song that many could relate to at some point in their life, the band made a smart move with that song now being the one that they close all of their concerts with.
For my final and overall thoughts: Is Bring Me The Horizon one of the best bands I’ve seen live? Definitely not. Even beforehand, I had heard mixed reviews of their set, and there really wasn’t anything that caught me off guard regarding their overall performance. No, not all the songs sounded amazing, but Oli Sykes did encourage a lot of audience interaction, and ultimately it was really the energy that both the band and the crowd gave off that made the show enjoyable. If you consider yourself at the very least a casual fan and you are willing to spare a little money for a ticket, definitely see Bring Me The Horizon live if you get the chance. Sure, you might not be amazed, but you won’t be disappointed either.
Best Songs: “Happy Song,” “Shadow Moses,” “Sleepwalking,” “Can You Feel My Heart,” “Antivist,” “Drown”