The first time I saw Bring Me the Horizon they were supporting Machine Head and were treated with something just a bit short of disdain. Yet those snotty punks gave as good as they got and that got my attention. In the years since a lot has changed and as they walked onto stage at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange it was clear that this crowd adores them.
A more subtle change is the bands they are on tour with. Kicking things off are alt-rockers PVRIS, who have become a bit of a buzz band recently. In some ways, you can see why. Lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen has one hell of a voice and their atmospheric sound is pleasant on the ear. Sadly, it lacks an edge. Everything sounds the same and there is a real lack of hooks. If they want to move from industry darlings to music fan darlings they will need something a bit more.
Neck Deep are an example of that difference between industry and fan favourites. The crowd reaction that greets them would honestly be acceptable for a headliner and there is a sizable group singing every word back to them. It is just a shame, that it is all just more pop-punk. Listen, I’m not a fan of that style of music, never have been and I probably never will be, so it is a bit unfair for me to call this bad. It is just not for me and I spent most of their set waiting for it to be over. For my ear, it sounded like every other band who grew up listening to Blink 182. However, a lot of other people seem to enjoy it, so if that is your bag, check them out.
So an alt-rock band and some pop-punk, hardly the bands you would have pictured touring with Bring Me back when they were the most hated band on the planet. Yet when they hit the stage it all begins to make sense. They are a stadium rock band now and they’re damn good at it. ‘Doomed’ kicks things off and while it’s a low-key start it slips effortlessly (much like it does on the album) into ‘Happy Song’ and chaos erupts. It is so obviously a track built for the live environment that it feels a lot more at home here than it does on record.
What follows is a set of thirteen songs, eleven of which come from the last two albums. Only ‘Chelsea Smile’ and ‘Blessed with a Curse’ remind fans that BMTH were a band before that. Which in this setting does make sense, even if There is a Hell… is still their best album, because these songs sound big. They work being played in front of this many people and even that Linkin Park cover doesn’t sound too daft.
In fact, the only song off the new album that doesn’t entirely work is ‘True Friends’ which doesn’t seem to connect with the crowd in the way the rest do. Even the originally controversial ‘Drown’ has now established itself as a set closer and is sung with gusto by everyone in attendance. It all comes down to one simple fact, BMTH are on the cusp of being one of the biggest bands we have and I think they may just deserve it.
It does mean that as I stand at a gig surrounded by screaming teenage girls and some hipster bellend with a twirly moustache and suspenders, that I have to accept that these guys are no longer my band. They’ve got bigger than me and the long haired guy in the metal shirt is now the minority at their shows. But you know what, that’s okay. BMTH are this generation’s MCR. They are the band that will turn a million kids onto great music, much like My Chem did with me. If anything, it’s a blessing that they will do that while being pretty kick ass themselves.