Photos by Nadine Ballantine
One of the most recognised British metalcore bands of the 21st century, I was rather impressed to see that Bring Me The Horizon had included a date in Wales on their Sempiternal tour alongside Crossfaith (whom I undeniably looked forward to seeing, as their music has literally appeared to spring on to the music scene from nowhere) and heavy progressive band Empress from London. An easy representation of their recent fame is proven in the fact that tickets for this singular Cardiff date sold out within an hour or two of release. Luckily, I was not about to miss this opportunity and made my way downstairs at the early hour of 9am to ensure I got tickets to this unmissable tour date.
Anyway, I arrived on the night, May 5th, an hour before. The line was already filled with ecstatic chants and eager conversation of those who were there before me. Some even arrived earlier on in the day and sat around towards the front of the queue; dedication of fans is often unquestionable in the rock scene.Upon enetering the venue I followed through the hall straight to where crowds were gathering in front of the stage. Empress were already playing by this point. Though I hasten to add the lack of enthusiasm across the room, the band is relatively small and unknown, but they were cheered on and listened to regardless. For a rather insignificant band, yet to make their impact on rock magazines and television, they delivered a rather impressive, heavy set list. Lead singer Ollie Loring also promised to hang around by merchandise after the show for anyone who wanted to strike up a chat, and they seemed like a decent group of friendly guys.
Between Empress and Crossfaith, pits began to open up and I was pushed to the front few rows of the crowds where I awaited Crossfaith’s entrance. Considering the band is Japanese, don’t speak much English and have never been to the UK before, many were apprehensive, but their doubts were quickly swept away. Bursting in with their hit single Monolith, the fans erupted with loud outbursts and movement. Members of Crossfaith certainly took pride in stage movement; jumping around and into the crowd to join the rest of their fans. I knew their music was impressive before, but the adjective ‘lively’ would be such an understatement that I feel it unsuitable to use. It was hard to keep both your feet on the ground from the excitement that echoed through the hall during their set. They take the crown so far for the most impressive support act I’ve ever seen. If you’re into deathcore, circle pits and violent head banging, I genuinely put this band forward as a suggestive music alternative.
Time came for Bring Me The Horizon to soon make their way on stage. At this point, I was one row away from the barrier and surrounded by fans holding letters and toys to throw up on stage to the members during the set. Conversation bubbled around the room as stage technicians set up the instruments and everybody prepared for a terrific end to an already good night. The lights went out and there wasn’t one person in the room not roaring or screaming in anticipation. By this point, some people had already broken down into tears as they prepared to meet their heroes. Strong strobe lighting illuminated the room, and lead singer Oli Sykes, surrounded by the rest and equally credited Bring Me The Horizon members took center stage. They opened with the globally recognised new single of theirs; Shadow Moses. Fans gladly sang along and it made me pleased to see Oli genuinely smiling about the fact that he was there.
Fortunately, by this point I was fully at the front, on the barrier. I was able to see every member of the band enjoying themselves (including Jordan Fish, the recent synth player addition to Bring Me) as well as getting a good view of everything that was going on. The significant point I noticed during this gig was that every song had an even greater impact on the band members than the crowd. As lead Oli began to scream his own lyrics, he stood up to face everybody and there were tears in his eyes already, this early on into the gig. The fact that somebody who wrote and had heard the song a thousand times was so easily broken down by it really showed the emotion and meaning behind what they stand for as a band.
He got on his knees, and sung into the floor while he trembled and took sharp, short breaths from trying to stop himself fully breaking down in front of everybody. Never have I seen anybody so close to their own music before in my life, and I thoroughly applaud him for his vibrant, inspiring expression of emotion during this concert, and it quickly blew BMTH’s vastly growing ‘mainstream’ reputation away from my mind. The rest of the night was equally as brilliant. Even fifteen rows in front, I could still feel the pushes and shoves from the mosh pit at the back of the room, and felt the crowdsurfers landing on my head to be brought over the barrier by the security guards. The good thing about rock music is that there’s always a beat for every fan to follow even if they don’t know the words, and an amalgamation of old and modern tracks on the setlist proved a very successful idea.
Overall, the night was one of the best of my life. Empress and Crossfaith members were hanging around merchandise; making friends and signing tickets. I briefly had photos and talked to them (genuine friendly guys) before leaving, and it was only when the cold night air hit me that I realised how incredible the night actually was. To summarise how much I recommend Bring Me The Horizon to mediocre metal listeners, at 11pm I was still sat outside the venue, bawling away because it would be ages until their next tour. A fantastic mid show to Bring Me’s Sempiternal tour.
Photos Nadine Ballantine