Bring Me The Horizon cement their place as arena rock royalty on night two in London
Two decades on from their formation as a scrappy deathcore band in Sheffield, Bring Me The Horizon have undergone a meteoric rise over the last few years.
Ascending to Download Festival headliner status in 2023 – after dominating the top spot at Reading & Leeds Festivals back in 2022 – the four-piece have recently unleashed their new era ahead of the release of POST HUMAN: NeX Gen. The second project under the Post Human name, due later in 2024 after its initial release was delayed, it comes accompanied by the band’s biggest live shows to date.
Hitting arenas across the UK in early 2024, the NX_GN World Tour hit a sold out O2 Arena for the second night running. Anticipation bubbling, as the lights come up to reveal a retrofuturist video game intro on screens around the arena, the band’s apocalyptic AI character, EVE, appears to brief the room. Teasing the crowd about humanity’s failure and welcoming them to the ‘greatest night of their life’, as she glitches out – the imposing ‘Church of Genxsis’ looms over the stage.
A gothic visual spectacle premiered at Donnington Park last year, the band emerge, barrelling straight into anthemic cut ‘DArkSide’. Confetti showering the room, it’s an introduction to the night’s sensory assault. From blasts of pyro to hazmat-suited dancers, flares, and visuals of snow-capped scenes and cyborgs, each song brings vivid new sights to process.
Following an explosive opening run of rarely played Sempiternal cut ‘Empire (Let Them Sing)’, ‘MANTRA’, and ‘Teardrops’, before the ripping breakdown of recent single ‘AmEN!’, frontman Oli Sykes delivers some directions to the restless crowd gathered before him.
“For health and safety reasons, I’m not going to tell you what to do… I know you will make the right decision.”
It’s an uncharacteristically indirect move from the frontman – known for his penchant for riling up crowds with tongue-in-cheek insults – but if the right decision was to open up one of the biggest mosh pits the O2 Arena had ever seen, the room understands the assignment.
As the ‘Church of Genxsis’ disintegrates, the band’s arena production takes centre stage. Following a stunning recreation of the ‘Shadow Moses’ music video, the set dives into the underground for ‘Obey’, before touring guitarist John Jones takes over vocal duties from recently departed member Jordan Fish on an acoustic rendition of ‘sTraNgeRs’.
Each of the night’s developments brings a reminder of Bring Me The Horizon’s genre-leading versatility and the constant evolution that has led them to stages like this. Mocking the band for the continued delays in POST HUMAN: NeX Gen’s release – after the room reminisces on their deathcore era with a performance of the brutal ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ joined by Static Dress frontman Olli Appleyard – EVE reappears on-screen to leak snippets of unreleased tracks before Bad Omens frontman Noah Sebastian joins the party for an explosive duet on 2013 track ‘Antivist’.
With frequent pauses due to medical emergencies – at one point sparking Sykes to advise, “If you’re feeling faint have a quick bite of a Ginsters and come back” – the night concludes with a victory lap of hits. Emotional fan-favourite ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ brings a rainfall of heart-shaped confetti, whilst ‘Doomed’ makes a welcome return to the tour setlist, and 2023 single ‘LosT’ sparks a mass singalong.
The dust settling before the evening’s final moments, Sykes takes a second to reflect on playing two nights at one of the country’s biggest venues.
“I don’t know how we did this twice… we are living proof that anyone can do this sh*t,” he grins.
“Just having a dream is enough… so go do it.”
Affirming their status as a generation-defining rock band, as spectacular pyrotechnics warm the room for a triumphant finale of ‘Throne’, the frontman’s mouth curls up into a smile as he delivers a parting gift to the 20,000 fans gathered before him: “F*cking kill each other!”
Photo credit: Sam Neill