It’s been quite a few years since Sheffield’s Bring Me The Horizon first made themselves known as a more or less by the numbers, if not slightly more interesting than the rest of their peers, deathcore band. Since then, they’ve reinvented themselves on numerous occasions, beginning with their electronic-tinged sophomore release Suicide Season and culminating in last year’s decidedly pop rock effort That’s the Spirit. Because of this (or, you know, in spite of it), they’ve garnered quite a large following over the years. Such a large following, in fact, that apparently Montreal’s Stade Uniprix was one of the only venues large enough to accommodate it. Stade Uniprix is, well, it’s a tennis court. And I’m sure they’re used to sizeable crowds, but I got the impression they weren’t quite prepared for such a massive gathering of young scene kids in the middle of the winter. The coat check effort was cute. There were roughly six or eight employees (or volunteers, probably) standing between a few wide tables lined up in front of a row of coat racks facing probably well in the thousands of fans with jackets waiting to be checked.
During the 45 minute wait, I pondered life.
Because this huge room is fairly open, I was still able to hear all of Beartooth’s opening set, and I made it to within visual range of the stage before they finished. To the credit of whatever powers that be were responsible for putting this show together, the massive stage was well utilized throughout this rendition of the American Nightmare Tour. Beartooths’ black and white logo was hoisted behind them in the form of a massive flag as the quintet rocked out in front of it, and it looked epic. Their music may not be overly original, but their energy is undeniable. There was a connection with the crowd that few opening acts manage to achieve. Huge choruses and big singalongs carried through all the way to closing track “Hated,” a true anthem for detached teens everywhere.
Spencer Chamberlain sounded fucking amazing, and the light show that hit us from the opening pummel of “Everyone Looks so Good From Here” through the entirety of Underoath’s set was nothing short of spectacular. Through seizure inducing combinations of white and blue, yellow and orange and everything in between, the chaos that erupted from the stage as the Tampa natives blasted through a career spanning set was absolute. I wish I could say that the energy translated through the entire crowd, but it seemed to be only the folks closer to the front who took full advantage of what was being offered to them. This was understandable, unfortunately, as the farther back you got, the more unintelligible the sound blaring from the speaker became, to a point where if you were standing in the wrong spot you probably couldn’t make much out at all. Underoath can’t be blamed for that, though, and the promise that they would be back again next year (along with it the silent understanding that they’re not allowed to break up again) was more or less enough to make up for the sound issues.
After another torrential wave of kids lining up at two makeshift bars and a merch table all about as well manned as the coat check counter, the lights when out and an on-stage screen began projecting snow. Then the glass broke, and the letters “S! P! I! R! I! T!” replaced the storm as Bring me the Horizon launched into “The Happy Song.” Visually, their entire set was phenomenal. Scenes of their various music videos for tracks like “Shadow Moses” and “Throne”, along with album art from both Sempiternal and That’s the Spirit interspersed with the lyrics to choice choruses and gang vocals. Smoke machines, confetti, pyrotechnics and streamers were also used to full affect throughout this clearly no-expense-spared performance. Based on what they played, though, you’d think BMTH only had two albums in their back catalogue and not, you know, five. They included a few heavier moments like “Antivist” where they got the whole crowd holding up middle fingers, but this was, by and large, a very down tempo set, and the crowd had very little opportunity to let lose the way they had for the previous acts. Also, aside from “Chelsea Smile” (during which they did that Slipknot thing where they make everyone get down on the ground and then jump up… It’s crazier when Slipknot does it, trust me), which they played early on, their first three records were entirely ignored. For older fans, this has to have been something of a letdown, especially considering the tickets to this thing weren’t cheap. Sure, “Oh No” is a catchy tune, but the inclusion of something meatier like “Anthem” or “It Was Written in Blood” would not have been unwelcome, especially during the encore.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy