Bring Me The Horizon live in London: a spectacular cyber-punk circus

The O2 Arena, September 26: the Sheffield metallers – with a little help from YUNGBLUD and Nova Twins – hit their zenith with a blockbuster production

Sheffield alt-metallers Bring Me The Horizon have rolled into London the final night of their POST HUMAN UK arena tour. “Allow me to reintroduce the band,” says frontman Oli Sykes, as he teases his bandmates with a banter-filled roll-call. Matt Nicholls is labelled “the sixth best drummer in Rotherham”, guitarist Lee Malia “International Man Of Mexborough” and keyboardist Jordan Fish “the fishy fingers himself”. After a few more in-jokes, he concludes,:“And last but by no means least, I am your host Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon and we are gonna rock your world tonight.”

It feels fitting for Sykes to be playing such a high-spirited master of ceremonies when this latest live incarnation of BMTH feels like a travelling circus. With the band resplendent in matching branded cream-coloured suits and backed by a full blockbuster production – cyborg dancers and all – this is much more than a rock show: it’s a high-concept affair. Tonight, which Sykes tells us is the biggest headline show of their career, Bring Me are here to prove that they’re the Big League band they’ve always threatened to become.

A cinematic orchestral soundtrack opens proceedings before breaking down into a glitch-core rave. “Are you fucking ready, London?” squawks Sykes before the band burst into the raved-up emo of ‘teardrops’ from last year’s ‘POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR’ – the first of four EPs/mini albums in their ‘POST HUMAN’ project. “London, I haven’t seen a fucking mosh-pit in two years, so you know what I’m gonna fucking ask you,” spits the singer, in the first of many requests to “open it up” and “push it back” as the crowd unleash 18 months of pent-up energy.

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The gnarly ‘MANTRA’ follows, before the moshpits go from a “five out of 10” to full marks – according to Sykes – during ‘The House Of Wolves’ from 2013’s ‘Sempiternal’. Along with ‘Shadow Moses’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’, that’s as far back as they go in terms of oldies. The set largely leans on the arena-rock of their last few records, particularly the day-glo cyberpunk and sci-fi pop of ‘amo’ and ‘SURVIVAL HORROR’.

The songs and the production follow a post-apocalyptic narrative that seems all to pertinent in 2021. Ahead of ‘Dear Diary’, a cage of screens lowers to warn of a virus outbreak that’s consumed London. The song kicks off and zombie corpses start falling to the floor like you’ve stepped into a gory arcade shoot-‘em-up. Dancers in hazmat suits arrive to shoot dry ice out into the arena for ‘Parasite Eve’ before we’re reminded that for all the bells, whistles and Alton Towers pizzazz, nights like this are supposed to be a celebration about making it to the other side of the pandemic. Or, as Sykes sings, “When we forget the infection / Will we remember the lesson?”

Bring Me The Horizon on stage at The O2, London. Credit: Conor McDonnell
Bring Me The Horizon on stage at The O2, London. Credit: Conor McDonnell

To add to the sense of occasion, recent NME cover stars Nova Twins join the band for a raucous rendition of their collab ‘1×1’ and punk prince YUNGBLUD comes out for an unhinged run-through of ‘OBEY’. Bring Me couldn’t have really brought any more. For all the theatrical drama and bombast – almost bordering on Muse levels – everything is anchored a sweaty rock club basement attitude and sense of community.

Tonight was the moment they proved they could headline the big rooms and major festivals with the best of them. “It’s shit like this that makes me think we’re in a simulation,” says Sykes as the crowd roar, hailing the show as a “dream come true” for him as and his mates to go from “nobody kids” to smashing The O2. “We are ascending.”

Bring Me The Horizon on stage at The O2, London. Credit: Conor McDonnell
Bring Me The Horizon on stage at The O2, London. Credit: Conor McDonnell

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Bring Me The Horizon played:

‘Teardrops’

‘MANTRA’

‘The House of Wolves’

‘Medicine’

‘Happy Song’

‘Ludens’

‘Dear Diary’

‘Parasite Eve’

‘Shadow Moses’

‘Wonderful Life’

‘1×1’ (with Nova Twins)

‘DiE4u’

‘Kingslayer’

‘Follow You’

‘Drown’

‘Obey’ (with YUNGBLUD)

‘Throne’

‘Can You Feel My Heart’

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