Words: Christopher Di Carlo
Photos: Andrew Basso, Electrum Photography
Metal fans, rock fans, pop fans, hardcore fans, you name it. This is what I saw last night heading towards Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena to attend Bring Me The Horizon’s 2019 “First Love” tour. Boys and girls, young and old all flocking towards the arena in excitement for what was sure to be an incredible show. Rod Laver Arena quickly began to fill from about 6pm onwards and at 6:30 sharp the lights went out and Newcastle’s Trophy Eyes hit the stage opening with “You Can Count On Me”. The band was successful in hyping up Rod Laver Arena with sheer amounts of energy which by this point was just about half full with fans still making their way inside. Vocalist John Floreani’s stage presence was astounding, not stopping for a second he engaged the audience asking them to wave their hands from side to side for “Lavender Bay”. The rest of the set consisted of songs mostly from their 2018 album “The American Dream”.
Just after 7:30 You Me At Six hit the stage with “Fast Forward” and “3AM” and one thing that really caught my attention from the beginning was that insane guitar tone I heard from the opening notes of “Fast Forward”. As was expected, the entire band took over with high amounts of energy lead by vocalist Josh Franceschi and his massive amounts of charisma. The man honestly wouldn’t stay still as he belted out some excellent vocals for an already hot crowd. Crowd participation was the highlight of this set as they almost always had the audience captivated and clapping their hands along to some of their favourite songs such as “Straight To My Head”, “Give”, and of course, “Underdog”. As we had all hoped, the band played “Bite My Tongue” which of course we all know features Bring Me The Horizon front man, Oli Sykes. As the bridge hit fans went absolutely ballistic as Franceschi introduced Sykes to scream the house down, and that he did. They ended on an even higher note with the crowd favourite “Room To Breathe”.
8:30 on the dot out came Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes. This was my first time really hearing these guys other than a quick listen on Spotify days prior and let me just say I was absolutely blown away! They literally EXPLODED onto the stage with their popular track ‘Crowbar’ setting the bar for the night with the crowd going absolutely wild, not going to lie, the explosion actually scared the crap out of me. This was an incredibly wild set and this was shown as Frank Carter himself jumped right into the middle of the audience, in fact I think he may have spent more time in the crowd than he did on the actual stage, especially when he was doing his amazing impression of a tree while he was literally upside down in the crowd of people.
When Carter finally made it back to the stage he toned down the show a little bit to give a lovely speech about anxiety and the everyday struggles that come along with it, followed by actually playing the song “Anxiety”. Carter then took a moment to thank the previous bands Trophy Eyes and You Me At Six as well as the main reason we were all there, Bring Me The Horizon. Devil Inside Me was next and during this one once again the front-man found himself in the middle of the audience only this time he was the man starting the circle pit although it quickly turned into what he referred to as the “selfie pit” due to the fans swarming around him for a quick photo, can we blame them? Of course not. Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes absolutely stole the show from then on involving literally the entire arena into their performance by urging those of us in the seats to begin a Mexican wave. It worked, the wave made its way around the entirety of Rod Lave Arena. The band finished things off with a song dedicated to that one person in your life that you hate more than anything, this song was “I Hate You”. Frank introduced the rest of the band members before finishing their incredible set.
The time has finally come, it is 9:30PM and the lights are out. Welcome To MANTRA plays over the PA as two men holding smoke guns take each side of the stage followed by Bring Me The Horizon themselves bringing us the real MANTRA with smoke shooting everywhere. The audience was still at 100% from the get go as Oli Sykes bought in Avalanche and jumped straight down with the audience telling them “You guys are off your f!@king tits!”. They then immediately proved that they can still bring the heavy when they kicked in with The House Of Wolves. There was absolutely no killing Bring Me The Horizon’s momentum on this night as the crowd began to chant the letters “S.P.I.R.I.T” to usher in Happy Song. The mosh was absolutely in full force for this one and it was showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon, Oli’s vocals were absolutely phenomenal here proving that he’s still got it. There were so many amazing moments on this night, one of them when sparks literally began to fly onto the stage as Wonderful Life kicked in. Another huge moment for me was seeing the mosh pit seated and “rowing” in anticipation for one of my favourites, Shadow Moses. Oli really had the crowd in the palm of his hand, garnering a reaction with every little thing he did whether he was dancing, sitting or even crawling towards them during Nihilist Blues. Oli proceeded to thank Trophey Eyes, You Me At Six and Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes followed by telling the audience “If you stand still you’re a f!@king dickhead for Can You Feel The Heart and it definitely worked because the crowd were rowdy. Up next was Anti-Vist and there’s not much to say but this one went off, there was even a huge wall of death. The lights then dimmed to a soothing blue as they played a nice acoustic version of Drown. The lights then went out completely as the band left the stage but we all knew that wasn’t the end, the audience began to chant the chants “one more song, one more song!”. At this point I noticed a very interesting sign making its way from the back of the room to the stage, it read “Play the deathcore medley”, some absolute legend actually made a sign. The man with the sign was right up the front on someone’s shoulders so there was no way Oli wouldn’t notice, but with that being said Oli made his way back to the stage covering his eyes and tauntingly began to sing Doomed while facing away from the sign. Throughout the song he would mock the person with the sign by telling him to “f!@k off” and “piss off” every vocal break, even eventually grabbing the sign and wiping his ass with it before throwing it away. All those jokes aside Oli eventually stopped the backing track and video to address the audience and the sign saying that because he went to all the trouble of making the sign that they would play the medley. The crowd went absolutely insane (myself included) and the pit instantly began to open up. The only condition was that the man with sign must be right in the middle of the pit and Oli warned to the crowd to not kill him, but definitely don’t treat him well. With the man and his sign being praised by the rest of the audience for being a hero Bring Me The Horizon belted out four of their classics, The Comedown, (I Used To Make Out With) Medusa, Diamonds Aren’t Forever and They Have No Reflections. After that extremely explosive performance the crowd were in awe that the sign had actually worked and they were treated to a now once in a lifetime moment. The show soon ended with Throne to cap of an incredible night.
Bring Me The Horizon proved on this night that they can still be heavy if they really want to. For fans new and old, this was a night we will surely never forget.