Live review: Bring Me The Horizon, Bournemouth International Centre

Bolstered by one of the best support line-ups we’ve seen in yonks, Bring Me The Horizon’s spectacular NX_GN tour rolled into Bournemouth for a ferocious night of spellbinding production, daft gags and modern metal classics.

Live review: Bring Me The Horizon, Bournemouth International Centre
Nick Ruskell
Jonti Wild

Oli Sykes has a question: “Does it still say ‘BMTH’ on the roads here?”

At the right junctions in Bournemouth, yes it does. Tonight, though, the authority with which Bring Me The Horizon stamp their name all over the south-coast seaside is more than a simple amusing coincidence of street-painted abbreviation. Barely a fortnight after the departure of Jordan Fish, and with the expected new record delayed again – this time confidently until summer – some had wondered about the effect of all this on a gigantic arena run. The answer is simple: after 20 years, theirs is a boat not so easily rocked.

Unlike Bournemouth, who get just that, in multiple fashions. First up on an excellently selected bill that amply shows the breadth and brilliance of music’s current crop of young bucks, Static Dress. Making Machine Gun Kelly look like a chump on Twitter isn’t the only thing frontman Olli Appleyard is good at, and he and his bandmates are an energetic treat for the early arrivers. The songs from their killer Rouge Carpet Disaster album are now absolutely jacked thanks to being dragged halfway around the world for the past year, and tonight they sound even more electrified than usual.

Cassyette, on the other hand, hadn’t played a gig since last summer before yesterday's tour curtain-up in Cardiff, instead beavering away on her long-awaited debut album. It’s slowed her down not one bit, mind. In songs like Petrichor and an enormous Dear Goth, Essex’s finest is an incandescent mix of star power and gobby sass, while on new banger Ipecac and Sex Metal’s burst of drum’n’bass “for all the ravers”, she grinningly teases 2024 as the year she finally explodes properly.

“I’ve heard people say I look bored onstage,” says Bad Omens’ Noah Sebastian. “I am…” Joker. Actually, he’s “disappointed” that so often in America he’ll look out to a sea of cellphones. “You don’t do that over here.” Thanks very much. Instead, tonight Noah looks out at an ocean of circle pits, faces absolutely belting THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND and raucous closer CONCRETE JUNGLE back at him, and at one point, a load of people sitting on the floor and rowing. True, he’s not the most athletic of performers, but Bad Omens can set off a place like this without even breaking a sweat. Anyway, their Matrix-ish visuals and dizzying lights are enough if you want something to look at amongst the mayhem. As their star continues to rise, Bad Omens would have to step in an enormous pile of shit to throw themselves off their firmly upward course.

From the moment opener DArkSide hits full throttle, Bring Me The Horizon are on fire this evening. Opening with an explosive run that takes in Empire (Let Them Sing), MANTRA and a particularly enormous Teardrops, in some ways they swing even harder than they did at Download last year. Kool-Aid – currently on track to be their first Top 10 single – is already a smasher on only its second day out, sitting next to Shadow Moses’ immortal sing-alongs comfortably indeed. Diamonds Aren’t Forever is absolutely fierce, Kingslayer is a technicolour techno blur, Parasite Eve has become even more snarky with time.

As ever, the production is incredible. They’re in a cathedral thing with stained glass windows. Then they’re in what looks like Hell. Then in a videogame-looking future. There’s fire, there’s dancers, there’s a different thing for almost every song. Such is the force when they choose to simply throw a fist, though, that it barely registers when they strip back the bells and whistles and simply go for the throat.

They give something of an update as to what’s going on plan-wise via an endearingly naff segment in which Oli ‘talks’ to the digital head that narrates proceedings between songs. Giggling that they’ve had some internal issues when it asks him where the hell the new album is, he also quickly scrolls through three-second snippets of new jams, before recording gang vocals of thousands of people yelling “Oli is a knobhead”, before there’s a reference to 1997 Jim Carrey LOL-fest Liar Liar ("Put some stank on it!" the head demands of the crowd's vocals), and business is resumed. When Noah Sebastian joins for a fuming Antivist – in a fetching yellow ski-mask – the place almost falls down.

Bring Me The Horizon have always been a band moving forward and upward, not allowing grass to grow beneath them. In a moment of big change such as this, it’s simply another door through which to go into somewhere new.

“It’s so fucking mental that we’ve been a band for 20 years now,” says Oli towards the end. Time flies, sickeningly so. But even after such a long shift, Bring Me The Horizon still feel like a band with plenty of worlds left to explore and conquer. As a new chapter begins, you’re very right to be excited.

Bring Me The Horizon's tour continues throughout the UK and Ireland – get your tickets now

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