Bring Me The Horizon

support Sights & Sounds + Pierce The Veil
author TL date 04/12/13 venue Kulturbolaget, Malmö, SWE

It's not that we don't enjoy us some Bring Me The Horizon here at Rockfreaks.net - our reviews of the band will testify that we do, and when the band was last around these parts they played a blistering show in Copenhagen's Amager Bio - Yet the main reason I'm lured to cross over into Sweden to see them only six months later, is in large part due to the excellent support acts that have been added to this particular tour. Oh and the fact that it is in KB, one of my favourite venues to watch shows in, does not hurt one bit either (the only downside of this place is that you can't pay with card in the bar). Tonight, the 750 capacity club venue is gradually making use of every one of its square metres, as the sold out show has had a queue curled down the street and around the corner since early in the afternoon, and as we arrive a few minutes before the first set, there are still a decent group waiting to trickle in after getting checked by the door.

Pictures courtesy of Julie Decome

Sights & Sounds

Whilst likely unbeknownst to almost everybody in here, Comeback Kid singer Andrew Neufeld's other band Sights & Sounds are no strangers to me, as I both vividly remember my elation in response to their excellent 2009 debut "Monolith" and my delight when I heard they were coming back with this year's new EP "Silver Door". The band sets off with "Storm And The Sun" and aided by frantically flashing white lights and a generous serving of reverb their cinematic post-hardcore immediately flows through the speakers sounding as big as intended, if not quite as detailed. Neufeld immediately draws eyes to him, looking every bit as menacing wielding a guitar as he normally does free-roaming stages while doing vocals for Comeback Kid, and hearing him handle the shifts between his harrowing, drawn-out screams and the high, airy cleans expertly is pretty impressive.

The group is clearly happy to be out on a rare tour with this constellation, with even their keyboardist raising his fist and singing along when he's not too busy managing the band's effects. We are treated to "Cards In Place" and "Sorrows" and Neufeld's long time experience as a frontman is clearly visible as he bangs his hands together and tries to rally the largely anemic crowd, seemingly undeterred by them clearly having no idea who the band is. As we move through the awesome "Neighbours" Neufeld finally explains that the band has ambivalent feelings on stage today, for while two of them just celebrated their birthdays, a friend of theirs also passed away yesterday, so they dedicate the set closer "Poli's Song" to him. Overall the set clearly never got hold of the audience, but it sounded pretty great and the band displayed such energy and professionalism that support bands we normally see in Denmark could learn a lot here.

Pierce The Veil

One of the main attractions of this show is that Pierce The Veil, a band I have followed closely since their stunning 2007 debut "A Flair For The Dramatic", is playing at least remotely close to Denmark for the first time ever, yet while I am aware that the San Diego quartet have become semi-famous in the Warped Tour scene I admit that I was not quite prepared for the level of reception they get here. The vocals are nowhere to be heard as the band storms on stage and into "Bulls In The Bronx" but it is only a slight impediment, because when the first chorus hits, half the venue is singing the refrain back at the band with their hands high in the air. The three standing members of the band are flying all over the place, underscoring each musical movement with gestures that pop stars couldn't have choreographed better until frontman Vic Fuentes settles down and showcases his skills playing the song's wicked Spanish-influenced solo.

"Hell Above" and "Bulletproof Love" follow and it's clear that Pierce The Veil has morphed from the fragile emo dudes behind "Flair.." into a colourful institution of entertainment, moving constantly and egging a crowd on that seem all too willing to catch fire from each of the lightspeed riffs and beats that course through the songs. Fuentes' vocals gain presence, but still a jam-packed KB is singing louder, and a subtle backing track keep things proceeding with robotic precision while making sure that any ambiance from the records is carried over to the live setting. The band has every reason to be satisfied with the reception, yet it's impossible to know if Fuentes' between-song banter is genuine, his every word drenched in a veteran showman's attitude as he suggests to his mates that they just settle down in Sweden permanently and dedicates a song to "everyone in this room that can say that music has saved their life".

I could make arguments that the vocals could have more focus both in the mix and in the performance, that a more genuine attitude wouldn't hurt these guys and that hey, the first album is still the best so a song from that wouldn't be bad either - But it would clearly be lost on a room that's eating the whole thing raw, responding to Pierce The Veil in a way many headlining bands would wish of their audience. Closing with "Caraphernelia" and "King For A Day", the overall set is a furiously incendiary presentation of the band's insane, modern mix of pop, metalcore and progressive punk, and when Fuentes finishes his final admirable attempt at mimicking Kellin Quinn's guest vocals on the latter song, I have to take a moment to remind myself that Pierce The Veil weren't actually the headlining band of the night.

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Bring Me The Horizon

As Bring Me The Horizon come on, I have a brief memory lapse back to being at this massive party seven years ago where the truly awful Danish dance band Infernal had been booked to play, and I remember hating their super-scripted set so much that it made me flat out angry and to steady myself I had to flee outside and listen to "Braille", by the then little known deathcore group. Now, seven years later, that same band has come a long way from deathcore, instead bringing their unique brand of angry, atmospheric metalcore to packed out venues worldwide. Their previous couple of albums may have had their detractors, but with this year's "Sempiternal", BMTH seemingly became irresistable and widely appealing, as a room full of both colourful teenage haircuts and maturing hardcore hipsters attest to, roaring catch phrases back at frontman Oliver Sykes as soon as the opening one-two punch of "Can You Feel My Heart" and "Shadow Moses" immerse us. It's a metal show alright, but by now it's also a communion where the loyal subjects come to chant the gospel of Sykes and his mates.

As such, it's clear that the expectations for the band's appearance were stacked so high, that so long as the five Brits could appear at least a shade of themselves, then it would be smooth sailing, and fortunately they are in solid form today. Sykes is his usual self, stepping up and down monitors and looking like his entire body in engaged in producing his coarse howls and his compadre Lee Malia is smiling wide at the reception while laying down the heavy riffs. The crowd is clearly into both the vulgar and the thoughtful side of the band, as the noise they make does anything but diminish as the band makes its way through "Diamonds Aren't Forever" and "Chelsea Smile". When songs like those come off the setlist along with a newer cut like "The House Of Wolves" and the fantastic "It Never Ends", I am again brought to thinking of the band as this decade's parallel to the Korns and Linkin Parks of the turn of the millenia, taking heavy music in their own direction and striking a connection with the anger and frustration of a cross-section of the current generation of young people.

And really this show is progressing a lot like the show in Copenhagen earlier in the year when I first made those comparisons. "Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake" is played, and at some point the band engages the audience in an effective and explosive round of the old sit-down/jump-up-routine which has the entire main area of the venue in a state of chaotic movement for a while, before it settles back down in a forest of outstretched arms and raised voices. There's a bit of a lull in activity during the subdued "Deathbeds" but it really only serves to give the crowd a breather before later numbers "Antivist" and "Sleepwalking" reignites the uproar and keeps it blazing all the way down to the cloakroom desk, where even the sensible ones that are trying to get their coats can be seen mouthing lyrics. In a way, it feels like tonight is just another stop on BMTH's "victory tour", on which their now carefully honed live performance is routinely celebrated by rooms full of their disciples, and that's what every band dreams of right? I mean one could hope that the future would hold more room for spontaneous moments and more widely ranging setlists, but still, this is what it looks like when a band has made it and then some.

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