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BRING ME THE HORIZON - Arena, Birmingham 23.11.2018

After nearly two years since they last toured the UK, BRING ME THE HORIZON are back on home soil with their 'First Love' tour as they build the hype for their highly anticipated upcoming album 'Amo'. Along with them they bring Californian outfit 'FEVER 333' and Brighton based 'YONAKA'.

It's YONAKA who are first up, having seen them twice already this year supporting Andrew WK and DON BROCO, it's amazing how far they have come in such a short period of time, being booked for an arena tour even as the opener is one hell of a big deal. I have to say though, I was really impressed with them both times I had seen them before but unfortunately everything seems a bit flat in comparison tonight, I don't know whether it's because they're still finding their feet performing on the bigger stages, transitioning from smaller clubs to a huge arena can't be easy, but something is definitely off. I was also slightly disappointed that 'Bubblegum' was missing from the setlist as it was one of their stand out songs from both of my previous times seeing them. Still though, there are plenty of positives to take, newly released song 'Creatures' definitely stood out as one of the strongest and vocalist Theresa Jarvis' stage presence can't be faulted!

Next up and taking it up a notch or twelve is the FEVER 333, I've been dying to see these guys ever since their formation last year and they absolutely do not disappoint. Made up of drummer Aric Improta, guitarist Stevis Harrison and former Letlive. vocalist Jason Aalon Butler the three piece burst into life opening with 'BURN IT'. If you've ever been one of Butler's shows before, be it with Letlive. or FEVER 333, you'll know that stage antics are just his thing, and he wastes no time in showcasing this tonight as the second song in and he's already climbed the railings of the arena and is singing with the crowd in the seated area, and still managing to belt out every note to the massive 'Made An America' without a problem.

At about half way through the set we are treated to a beatbox skit and drum solo, which see's Butler grab a snare of his own before ultimately launching it over his shoulders and nearly taking out his drummer in the process. As their slot draws to a close, the FEVER 333 show no signs of slowing down, with 'Trigger' and 'Huting Season' going down an absolute treat with the crowd. There's also time for yet more mischief as Butler pulls down the entire back drop from the back of the stage, which is a good way to piss your band manager off, albeit the Fever's management are most likely used to it by now! Massive props to BRING ME THE HORIZON for always bringing out amazing support bands though, the FEVER 333 are one of those bands who deserve all the attention they get, and this tour is going to do them absolutely no harm at all.

With the crowd well and truly warmed up, it's time for the headliners BRING ME THE HORIZON to step up. Opening with the first single 'MANTRA' from their upcoming album, and the whole arena sings it back as if it's an old classic. Oli Sykes' lookS well up for it tonight, undoubtedly buzzing to be back playing in the UK. Then it's time for the pits, as Lee Malia starts playing that teasing opening riff for 'House Of Wolves' the whole place descends into chaos. Keyboardist Jordan Fish continues to show us why he is the perfect final piece in the BMTH puzzle, it's his vocals that are arguably one of his best assets, as he adds that bit of extra punch highlighted mostly in 'Avalanche', 'Sleepwalking' and new track 'Wonderful Life'.

Some fans may have seen on social media in the week some videos knocking about of BMTH playing some of their older Deathcore/Metalcore material, supposedly as a one off for Oli's birthday, but thankfully this absolutely continued, despite Oli saying "I nearly got in trouble for playing this the other night!" As they make their way through 'The Comedown', 'Medusa', 'Diamonds Aren't Forver' and 'RE: They Have No Reflections' it's at this point where you can really see the biggest contrast in the crowd tonight, you have some people literally losing their minds, and you have others looking like they don't really know what to do. Oli caps it off with good taste though as he says "Right then, back to the shit songs!" Sykes is hands down a better screamer than he is a singer though (sorry!) not that it takes anything away from how good a frontman he is.

As the main set comes to an end, the songs flow from the more gentle sing along 'Follow You' to the angry bop that is 'Antivist' before closing with a nice surprise in the form of an acoustic version of 'Drown' sang back word for word by a truly mesmerised crowd. After the encore the night comes to a close with 'Doomed' and then finally 'Throne' in which everyone uses up every ounce of remaining energy they have after what has been a totally insane set.

BRING ME THE HORIZON are carrying the torch for the UK Rock scene right now, and tonight showcased exactly why they show no signs of stopping. There was something for everyone, the usual classics, the old material we thought we'd never see again and two songs from the new album, tonight will certainly be a night to remember for a long time to come.

Review - Sam Robinson

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