Venue: D’Marquee at Downtown East, Singapore
Date: 2nd February 2017
Promoter: LAMC Productions
Review by: Anna F.
Special Thanks: The LAMC Productions team
For their first and only Southeast Asian date on this tour, both While She Sleeps and Bring Me the Horizon absolutely destroyed from start to finish, and it never seemed like a warm-up show from the very beginning.
Made up of vocalist Lawrence Taylor, guitarists Sean Long and Mat Welsh, bassist Aaran McKenzie and drummer Adam Savage, metalcore band While She Sleeps took the stage punctually at 8PM and from then onwards, everyone was treated to a relentless sonic onslaught, with fans loyal to the last breath they take, reciprocating with circle pits which never lost their momentum.
Formed in 2006, the Sheffield quintet plans on releasing their third studio album, You Are We, on April 21st this year and before launching into the first single off the album, Taylor described it to be “about love, respect and unity”.
The five-piece worked through their brief set with gonzo energy and their movements were frantically intense, complete with swinging guitars, stomping and so much synchronised headbanging that it was infectious. Most impressive was Adam’s insanely potent and frenetic stick and leg-work, which acted as an undeniable anchor for all of their songs. He sure lives up to his surname, especially behind the kit.
Closing with “Four Walls”, which comes off their second studio album, Brainwashed, the frenzied yet controlled intensity of grumbling guitars stole the spotlight and left everyone pumped and ready for more.
As the lights dimmed, vocalist Oliver Sykes, guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Fish and touring musician and guitarist John Jones took their designated spots on the stage. The Sheffield lads’ calculated dramatic entrance was followed by an electrifyingly punchy delivery of “Happy Song”, which saw the audience taking over the mock cheerleader chants with gusto. You could feel the ground vibrating with everyone jumping in tandem. Most of the songs they performed come off their fifth studio album, That’s The Spirit, which has been described as a loose concept album about celebrating life’s darker moments and marks a departure from their metalcore roots.
Compared to While She Sleeps’ set, Bring Me The Horizon’s was fastidiously produced, with the digital backdrops meticulously tailored to each song and easily ensnared everyone’s attention and enthusiasm. The crowd happily complied to the charismatic
ally demanding frontman’s requests to open up the pit and even to sit down during “Chelsea Grin” before they rolled back in.
Their set was not all chaos and madness, though. It also included expansive, thematic soundscapes and experimental synths, during their mellower songs like “Follow You” and “Oh No”. Oliver’s vocals ranged from gentle, coaxing and silvery to pleading and possessed. At times, the petite shaggy-haired frontman crouched down to an almost fetal position to deliver his guttural growls with an indescribable amount of ferocity and gut-wrenching emotion.
The live rendition of “Shadow Moses”, which was the first single off their fourth studio album, Sempiternal, was one of the highlights of the night. The audience held their own when it came time to deliver (read: yell) the first “THIS IS SEMPITERNAL” midway through the song. It was chilling to hear the entire venue echo and vibrate with those three words. I mean, it doesn’t rival the Royal Albert Hall version but it was most definitely a spectacle in itself.
After a gentle and harmless request by Oli for people to crowdsurf to the front and high-five his high-five tattoo (#goals, amirite?) the band ended their set on a meaningful note with “Drown”, the song resonating with the entire room.
Despite the multiple postponements which initially left fans angry and disappointed, especially those around the region, who had already made travel plans, the show ended up being flawless – from the venue to the lights to both bands’ sets. Kudos to LAMC Productions for sticking to their guns with this show and switching the venue from Fort Canning to D’Marquee – are there meteorologists on your crew or something?! Nothing seemed to have been able to dampen S-P-I-R-I-Ts nor rain on anyone’s parade.
Disregarding anyone contemptuously badmouthing their music, if Thursday night’s show was anything to go by, their ability to adapt and evolve will not get a bad rep under my watch. It’s getting kind of old now, and I think it’s time to pack it in.
And regardless of whether you want to classify BMTH as metal, hardcore, screamo, or pop for all I care, I’m sure they’ve got us all under their spell and I think we like it, too.