Who: Bring Me The Horizon / You Me At Six / Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes / Trophy Eyes
Where: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
When: Friday April 12th, 2019
Review: Matt Doria (Website)
Photos: Britt Andrews (Facebook / Twitter / Patreon)
Though they've officially made the break into arenas worldwide, Bring Me The Horizon still anchor their live set on a palpable and poignant intimacy. Seated punters were a little sparse at their long-awaited Sydney comeback, but the dancefloor was swarming with loud and livid devotees when Sheffield's finest metalcore-come-pop-rock maniacs rolled out to the pounding bass notes of Amo hit "MANTRA". And despite a swarming sea of faces to get lost in, Oli Sykes
and co. were decidedly personal with their crowd interractions. The frontman responds directly to our chants – for better or, when it came to pre-encore cries for a shoey, which he and synthist Jordan Fish reluctantly obliged, worse – and he was quick to call us out on schlocky circle pits.
The night kicked off with a show-stealing set from the local alt-rock stalwarts in Trophy Eyes. Long gone are the days where their rule was relegated to half-filled PCYC halls; choice cuts from The American Dream proved the fivesome's readiness for bellied scopes of their own, frontman John Floreani dropping all jaws in a mile-long radius with his equally slick and sour bellows, and dance moves that harkened back to MTV's heyday (though his newfound affection for 'alternative fashion' could use some work).
With axes in hand, Andrew Hallett and Kevin Cross were impossibly captivating, both shredders taking full advantage of their extra leg room as they whipped frantically around the stage. Our only two critiques are aimed at the lack of cuts from 2016's Chemical Miracle – the booming and boisterous, mountainous peaks of "Nose Bleed" and "Counting Sheep", and the slow-burning ebb and flow of "Daydreamer" (plus its volcanic crescendo) would've spurred goosebumps en masse in the opulence of their arena backing – and the fact their set was around 90 minutes too short.
Ditto for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, who could've had our attention gripped for hours with his serpentine onslaught of moody, trip-inducing goth-rock and grimy underground hardcore. When he wasn't doing handstands on punters' shoulders or leading circle pits that bordered the entire dancefloor (both actual occurances amongst the highlights of the night), the debonair of destruction was pouring every ounce of his manic and menacing energy into a microphone – his throaty, borderline seductive roars inciting chaos on a scale which venue security looked concerningly unprepared for. Rest assured, this ginger had plenty of soul – here's hoping he and his band of riff-spitting misfits make a speedy return when LP3 (End Of Suffering) hits shelves next month.
Rounding out the pre-show programme were pop-punk mainstays (and longtime acquaintances of BMTH) You Me At Six. The Surrey crew have conquered Qudos before (albeit supporting the pop lords in Paramore), and across a painfully brisk 30 minutes of fist-pump fuel and karaoke gold, they made an irrefutable case for why the lofty pillars of the arena is where they well and truly belong. Max Helyer and Chris Miller were the backbones of this venerable 'greatest hits' playlist – everything from high school classics like "Underdog" to modern pop gems like "3AM" shined with lashings of sun-bright Telecaster strums and thick, punishing hooks.
And, of course, we have to give notable praise to the moment Sykes popped out for his ripping guest verse on "Bite My Tongue", which damn near had the whole venue rumbling with the weight of its singalong. The only moment cheers eclipsed this volume was when BMTH themselves strolled out, blinding strobes and monolithic pillars of CO2 making it as clear as ever that after more than a decade of slugging it out everywhere from the dingy throws of regional youth centres to the sunburn-gifting daytime slots at Soundwaves past (remember when some dude with a flare burned their stage down in 2013?), Bring Me The Horizon are now the irrefutable kings of the scene.
At a tight 15 cuts – all pulled from their more recent, less abrasive efforts (so, Sempiternal onwards), BMTH's setlist was defined by wall-to-wall fortitude and venomous intensity. And though we'd do unspeakable things for a proper journey through their six-album discography, every track the band did crank out sounded no less than enormous. Hell, even the interlude – Aoife Ní Fherraigh's soulful "The Best Is Yet To Come" – had bodies swaying. A solid effort, we must admit.
Sykes' performance was especially striking; while the 32-year-old multi-hyphenate has been adverse to screaming in recent years and would often stumble through some of his more taxing sonnets live, he was absolutely ferocious here, hitting every note with the deftness of a boxer and belting more than his fair share of gravelly gutturals that wondrously recalled his deathcore roots. When singing more warmly on newer cuts like "Mother Tongue" and "Follow You", his voice was butter-smooth and honey-sweet, piercing hearts and caressing souls like he cut his teeth on Sheeran-esque pop. Met with consistently powerful licks from lead guitarist Lee Malia, it's entirely possible this was the best Sykes had ever sounded live.
Malia too was at the tippy top of his game tonight; weilding one of his signature Les Pauls for most of the set, the founding axeman ripped through every mosh-inducing riff as if it were his mission to split a string. Touring member
John Jones was similarly adroit on rhythm guitar, doling the mix the extra bit of oomph that BMTH needed to justify the size of their setup. It was (unsurprisingly) the heavier cuts they shined brightest on, every pummelling breakdown crushingly chunky and deliciously violent. Though we'll admit, if there's one moment where the guitars truly took our breath away, it was when Malia and Skyes buddied up for an adorable acoustic rendition of "Drown".
Don't let the bright, production-heavy gloss of Amo fool you – BMTH are as human as they've ever been, and with their most ambitious and expensive scope yet, their new live show is all kinds of theatrical and dynamic. If you get the chance to catch it in the flesh, trust us, the only thing you'll regret is not stretching beforehand – catastrophic pits and lifelong memories await.
Catch our full gallery of photos from Bring Me The Horizon in Sydney after the jump!