BMTH engulfed day two of Download 2023 in flames – plus Nova Twins, PUP and more
Day two of Download arrives, and faint memories of singing our hearts out to Foo Fighters’ ‘Monkey Wrench’ and Linkin Park’s ‘In the End’ at The Doghouse at 2AM last night linger vaguely. Hang on a minute. Singing ‘Rockstar’ in the voice of Chad Kroeger? That was the bad thing.
Those not getting their stretches in at the rock aerobics probably awoke in a tent-sauna stupor to the sounds of Harry Styles’ ‘Adore You’ in what must have been one of the weekend’s tongue-in-cheek soundchecks (or, you know, maybe the sound tech just loves Harry?). But today’s opening act on the Apex Stage Stand Atlantic soon did away with the pop sentimentality, as the Sydney four-piece are clearly not phased by their early billing, giving the anthemic pop-punk of tracks like ‘pity party’ extra welly.
The much decorated Nova Twins are propelling at a speed that blasts past the traditional confines of genre and has earnt places on a broad stroke of festival posters. Their set today is huge, as Amy Love and Georgia South perform as if they were headliners on the likes of opener ‘Fire & Ice’ and ‘Puzzles’. Give them a year or two, they probably will be.
If you were all pop-punked out by the time arena-ready Hot Milk take to the stage, you could have turned to Pupil Slicer, who after ten minutes inspection are indeed as intense as their name might suggest, or Newcastle’s Demob Happy. The latter bring some alternative but no less massive sounding grooves and textures to the Avalanche Stage, with the crunchy but angular stoner jam ‘Voodoo Science’ getting some heads bopping.
It might be in part due to the Avalanche Stage being one of the only providers of shade on this sun-baked complex, but it is pumping as Canada’s PUP took to the stage for their emo-tinged pop punk. “What’s up, you freaky metal heads?!’ taunts singer Stefan Babcock with a smile before crowd surfing and shredding with his guitar behind his head. This lot are rising to the challenge and absolutely loving it.
There’s this excitement hanging in the air in the moments before Bring Me’s first Download headline set; it’s the kind where everyone knows that this is huge step for the band but one that will pave the way for the next era of their career. We’re greeted with a kind of Black Mirror narrative on the screens surrounding the fictional cult of Genxsis, with some ominous overlord introducing the scene. She returns throughout the evening as the plot develops, but in truth Oli Sykes and co didn’t need this narrative for an immersive show. From the off the production levels are off the charts, with their almost nostalgically gothic back drop being set ablaze from fire blasts coming at every angle.
The sound is aggressive and towering to match, as they tear through a set that bridges their intense, in-sync chug chugging sound of the early days and the pop-minded elements of today. It’s interesting seeing such a broad scope of fans who appear metal purists not only open, but enjoying songs that for all their breakdowns and volume, have an accessible and melodic thread running throughout.
Bring Me The Horizon are joined tonight by the likes of Nova Twins and Evanescence’s Amy Lee, the latter revealing herself from a hooded cloak for the dance-goth fusion ‘One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death’. But Sykes is clearly the star, here, indulging a little too much at times perhaps in the timeless archetype of the cocksure front man, but it is his night after all. Read our full Bring Me The Horizon review here.