Bring Me The Horizon’s Glastonbury set was a confused but ambitious affair that flexed their formidable imaginations


You can't deny their commitment to their cause at Worthy Farm

Well, no-one can accuse Bring Me The Horizon of standing still. The Sheffield metallers have been through a few incarnations now – from their deathcore beginnings via a flirtation with nu-metal to their current reinvention as a wildly inventive pop-rock crossover, showcased on recent five-star album ‘Amo’ – and their late-afternoon slot at Glastonbury’s Other Stage finds them restlessly continuing to pushing the boundaries. Theatrics, synchronised dancing, flamethrowers and a celebratory confetti canon – we have it all, and more. Sonically they are ferocious. The visual performance doesn’t entirely hang together, but there are moments of brilliance and it with a clear display of a band bidding to become icons. These are the weirdest moments.

The trippy visuals

At one point, during poppy ‘Amo’ track ‘medicine’, coinciding with the line, “You need a taste of your own medicine”, the video screen behind the band depicts a CGI mannequin head’s mouth being stuffed with wriggling black worms, which turn into tiny moving figurines when the mannequin head spits them out. These bizarre visuals continue throughout the show. ‘Happy Song’, taken from 2015 album ‘That’s The Spirit’, is accompanied by images of people with smiley faces for heads charging in unison. Say what you like about Bring Me, but you’re unlikely to see this spectacle from, say, Sleaford Mods.

Possibly the world’s biggest circle pit

In his improbably broad Yorkshire accent – which sounds like it’s coming from a mouth entirely different to the one that delivers those shredding metal howls – frontman Oli Sykes demands that the audience opens up a circle pit. “Glastonbury, what’s up wi’ yer?” he  shrieks. “That’s pathetic! Push it back! Fucking bigger!” By the time he’s done with goading the audience, this circle pit is, weirdly, a rectangle, and about the size of a five-a-side football pitch. As Bring Me get bigger and bigger, so do their fans’ signs of appreciation.

A bit of musical theatre

No, seriously. The band take it in turns to stalk along on a massive speaker stack at the back of the stage, while at various points masked women in patched overalls march back and forth, blasting flamethrowers.

A costume change!

This occurs fairly early on in the set, with Bring Me – who had been wearing patched overalls, too – disappearing to swap into their regular jeans and t-shirts. This indicates the kind of band they have become now: no longer ratty deathcore oddballs, they’re massive stage show-delivering pop-metal oddballs.

“I saw them three years ago on this same stage,” long-time fan Rynne Ellis tells NME, “and it was a lot more basic, just the band and guitars and that. It’s cool to see them do this kind of production. It’s clear that they’re really thinking about it now.” Clare Fuller, another fan who was also here three years ago, agrees: “Every time I see them they get better and better and better. They put so much more effort in [this time].”

A cartoony cameo from Dani Filth

The Cradle of Filth frontman, who appears on the track ‘wonderful life’, appears in a video behind the band, clad in corpse paint, stood against a cartoony pastoral backdrop, replete with Day-Glo bright flowers and grass. Given that the show’s held in broad daylight, with aggressive songs threaded together with mismatching, cartoony videos, none of which seem to relate in any way to the masked dancers, this feels like a disjointed, confused performance. Yet it also shows Bring Me The Horizon’s ambition and quest for reinvention. Their imaginations, clearly, are rich and expansive. Perhaps in time they’ll hone them to create a more cohesive stage show; one that matches their impeccable sound.