Gig review: Musical Northern Powerhouse Bring Me the Horizon orchestrate chaos at Leeds arena ‘homecoming’

Bring Me the Horizon at First Direct Arena, Leeds (Pic: Tom Sykes)
Bring Me the Horizon at First Direct Arena, Leeds (Pic: Tom Sykes)

A musical Northern Powerhouse has served a not-so-gentle reminder of their ability to orchestrate chaos.

Bring Me the Horizon’s appearance at the First Direct Arena allows natives of their home county to show the five-piece just how beloved they are in these parts.

Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon, pictured during their show at First Direct Arena, Leeds (Pic: Tom Sykes)

Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon, pictured during their show at First Direct Arena, Leeds (Pic: Tom Sykes)

And, in turn, the rock behemoths showcase exactly why their trajectory continues to take them only upwards and onwards.

A pair of punchy new songs, set to appear on their upcoming new album Amo, a viscous medley of their deathcore material and the singalong favourites of Sempiternal and That’s the Spirit all go down a storm.

They might have morphed into something so much more radio-friendly since the heavy, heavy days of Suicide Season, but that trio of older songs bring smiles to the faces of fans a little longer in the tooth than the fresh faced recent converts.

In Oli Sykes, the band have a frontman in every sense of the word.

Between songs he’s the mouthpiece, and during them he’s the focal point.

What’s refreshing about the 32-year-old is the lack of the posturing that can accompany music of this genre, in a live setting – perhaps more so from our cousins across the pond.

Sykes is tongue in cheek, playful and down to earth, laying on the Yorkshire speak as he teases and cajoles the crowd into forming bigger and more frenetic circle pits.

He shakes his hips, mimics a zombie, then a puppet, but all the while he’s the one pulling the strings.

He growls, screams, whoops and sings his way through their diverse set, giving the masses opportunities to join in and letting keyboardist/percussionist/genius Jordan Fish do the vocal heavy lifting in songs like Doomed.

It’s chaos, but it’s organised. Nothing feels unplanned, bar a slight technical issue that delays an acoustic version of Drown.

The short interlude allows Sykes to personally greet his adoring public down the front, before he’s draped in the county’s flag by Mat Nicholls, sparking one of the countless ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ chants.

That acoustic number, sung by Sykes and played by guitarist Lee Malia, is a nice change of tempo and further evidence that experimentation holds no fear for BMTH.

Confetti and streamer cannons and brilliant stage lighting add to the sense of celebration.

It’s a homecoming and Sykes and co are among thousands of friends.

There’s a genuine gratitude in his voice when he sings the crowd’s praises as things are brought to a bouncing conclusion with Throne.

And it’s hard not to believe him when he vows that the new album will blow our minds.

By the time they bring that fresh material back to Yorkshire they’ll have been all over the globe on the First Love tour.

But Saturday night proved beyond doubt that home is where the heart is for Bring me the Horizon, from Sheffield, England