Live review: Bring Me The Horizon @ SSE Hydro

BMTH photo credit Cameron Brisbane

By Fraser Bryce (@fraser_bryce)

I’d be lying if I said that I hate to be the “I told you so” guy. When I reviewed Bring Me The Horizon’s gig at the O2 Academy last year, it was clear that the band would quickly outgrow such cosy confines and graduate into the big leagues. Here we are, nearly one year later, and I fucking told you so. Now, it didn’t exactly take Nostradamus to see this coming; BMTH have been poised for bigger things for some time now, and the crossover appeal of That’s The Spirit made these arena shows all but an inevitability. Still, I told you so.

So, how did BMTH’s moment of truth hold up? We’ll deal with the positives first. Firstly, I have seen some incredible stage shows in my time, but the visual assault BMTH brought to the Hydro might just be up there with the best. Lasers, pyro, CO2 cannons, the word “cunt” plastered in forty foot high letters over a massive video screen, all in all it was dazzling. Secondly, when the band sound big, they sound big. Seeing as songs like Happy Song and Throne were designed for venues like this, it comes as no surprise, but, if anything, the tracks from Sempiternal and Suicide Season sound even better. Thirdly, Shadow Moses. That is all.

Now, we turn to the negatives. My main problem? The setlist. When I saw the band last year, while a large chunk of That’s The Spirit was aired, the set still focused mainly on their older – and, whisper it, better – material. Tonight, however, That’s The Spirit dominates, with just a handful of songs from Sempiternal and a sole airing from Suicide Season – a crushingly massive rendition of Chelsea Smile – filling out the gaps. Now, I understand the band are trying to appeal to their new found fan base, but going from the aforementioned Chelsea Smile into Follow You – which sounds like fucking Coldplay – makes for quite a jarring change. This clashing of styles is further reflected in singer Oli Sykes’ showmanship. One minute, he’s preaching unity and togetherness, the next he’s literally telling people to kill each other. Clearly, BMTH can’t decide what band they want to be: arena bothering alt-rockers or angry, hateful metalheads. Until they pick a side, the live show is destined to suffer. What’s more is that That’s The Spirit simply pales in comparison to the band’s older material. When comparing the likes of True Friends and Oh No to songs like Can You Feel My Heart, the difference in quality is astronomical. The only exception to this is show closer Drown, which, for my money, is one of the best rock songs of the decade.

So, what should have been a triumphant coronation for the new kings of arena rock is marred by the fact that BMTH are at a crossroads in their career. They still haven’t ditched their deathcore roots, and it makes for a clunky live show which highlights the weaknesses of the newer songs. If you liked Bring Me The Horizon prior to That’s The Spirit, the band you loved is dying, and in its place is a plodding monument to compromise. It’s fantastic that rock music now has another arena-sized band, but my God, at what cost?if (document.currentScript) {