Don’t let me drown

If I may brag/reminisce for a moment:

Two years ago – December 8, 2012 – I flew to London to see You Me At Six play a sold out Wembley Arena (the smaller neighbour to Wembley Stadium, which is the big thing they use for the Olympics and football games, etc). It was the best weekend of my life and pretty much everything I do, I compare to that night (aka the Final Night of Sin).

The trailer for the FNOS DVD. This is basically my happy place.

I never imagined I would go back for another show at Wembley.

Last Friday, I did just that.

Bring Me the Horizon (who I last saw at Riot Fest and before that in February) announced their biggest show ever at Wembley Arena back in January. It sold out within weeks (I think the floor tickets sold out in a couple of days). I was unbelievably stoked when I found out Ro had scored seats for us.

I’ve actually seen all three opening bands before, so I don’t really have anything new to say about them. Sleepwave was first – they opened for Taking Back Sunday in April. Basically it’s a bunch of long-haired screamy dudes thrashing around on stage (lead singer Spencer Chamberlain was previously in Underoath, if that makes a difference to you).

Next was Issues, who, oddly enough, I first saw open for Bring Me the Horizon (at the show in February). If I actually bothered to listen to Issues, I’d probably like them – Ro pointed out that they have an early Breathe Carolina vibe to them, which is something I can easily get behind. But when they play live, the music (drums, guitars, synths, etc) all seem to move at one pace while the vocals move at a different pace resulting in a discordant sound that confuses my brain. Maybe I have to listen to a recording?

I quite like Young Guns, who were the final opening band. I saw them open for You Me At Six in October, and, before that show, I had compared them to a cross between Mallory Knox and Deaf Havana (this is a very good thing). They continued to be enjoyable as they played to a crowd of people who haven’t seen them in about a year.

Then the lights dimmed and the screams got so loud, they were practically corporeal, and Bring Me the Horizon stormed on stage to the opening strands of “Shadow Moses”, and it was incredible. There was something so spine-tingly about hearing 12,000+ people screaming “THIS. IS. SEMPITERNAL.” together.

I lost my voice two songs in, if that’s any indication of how good the show was.

We were seated side-stage, towards the top, which gave us an excellent vantage point. I could see every band member and watched them as they played to the biggest crowd in their nearly ten year existence. I also felt safer up there: from where we were, we could see the roiling crowd, the multiple circle pits, and the massive wall of death that basically looked like that time when the Red Sea split in half and then crashed together. I mean, sure, they were just doing what Oli was telling them to do (one of my favourite things is when he starts whispering instructions, then steadily builds it up until he’s screaming “JUMP” and the crowd loses their minds. Fun to watch, but not fun to get stuck in if you’re not the moshing type).

Sidenote: did you see how I ironically used a religious comparison there? I never realized quite how anti-religion “The House of Wolves” was until the giant screen behind them showed a church on fire (I mean, the lyrics are pretty obvious now that I think about it, but sometimes I literally can’t understand what they’re saying).

Speaking of the screen: the lights/pyrotechnics/basic stage effects were amazing. The crew in charge of designing/synchronising that kind of stuff did a fantastic job. They really added another level to an already phenomenal performance.

BMTH did not hold back during this show. They were beyond energetic and threw themselves into playing the songs as perfectly as possible. Lead singer Oli Sykes careened around the stage, at one point leaning over the barrier into the crowd, and later cartwheeling (it’s possible he was singing at the same time, I just remember being impressed that someone so tall could cartwheel so elegantly). Long time BMTH fans were also treated to a mini on-stage reunion when Oli called out the original guitarist, Curtis Ward, to play “Pray for Plagues”, one of their first singles.

I talk a lot about the bass in songs, and Wembley Arena probably has the best acoustics if you’re a bass-lover like me. I don’t know the technical terms, but whatever setting the instruments are on (I like throwing the word “reverb” around, to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but that’s probably not right), you could feel them pulsing and pounding through the soles of your feet and out the top of your head. It was even better than when you can feel the bass pumping in your chest.

And, like I said before, it’s amazing to hear so many thousands of people screaming the words together, especially the songs that are chock-full of any emotion like “Antivist” (12,000+ people with their middle fingers in the air – no fucks were given that night) or – one of my personal favourites – “Can You Feel My Heart”, which was – literally – show-stopping (it being the last song of the night).

Middle fingers up, if you don’t give a fuck.

I’m scared to get close, and I hate being alone…

Of course, one of the highlights of the show was when they pulled out their latest single, “Drown” (officially released today) – it’s an awesome song in general, and hearing it live made it even better.

I took a couple of photos, but it’s hard to take pictures when you’re busy dancing/screaming/headbanging, so I don’t have anything great to show off. RockSound, however, has a cool gallery on their website that’s worth a look.

If you’re a BMTH fan and you have not yet seen them live…get on that. They’ll blow your mind.

I’ve got the mic and you’ve got the mosh pit

Last night was our first show in (over) a month! We’ve been waiting anxiously for  the Taking Back Sunday/The Used co-headlining our for months, and it was completely worth it.

We’re not huge fans of The Used, but we do love TBS, a love that grew three times when they released their most recent album, Happiness Is in March. Just one listen to the lead single, “Flicker, Fade”, and you can probably see (well, hear), why we were so excited.

You live your life like you’re not in control, like you’re playing a role…

The first band was Sleepwave, headed by Spencer Chamberlain formerly of Underoath. I say that like I know what I’m talking about, but I’ve never heard Sleepwave before last night and I think I’ve only heard a handful of Underoath songs. They were your standard post-hardcore band, but I was a little jealous of their luxurious hair.

Next was Tonight Alive, who we last saw opening for You Me At Six in October (Jenna wrongfully said that they haven’t been back since Warped and I was all “LIES! YOU WERE HERE SIX MONTHS AGO!”). They are very fun live, and I basically want to be Jenna because she is fantastic.

I might have posted this song last time, but it’s just so good.

As I mentioned, we’re not big fans of The Used, but their set was also great. The few songs I recognized sounded great live, even though Bert McCracken (or, “The McCracken”, as we like to call him) scares me a little bit. Although, we met The Used (and Taking Back Sunday) on Monday at HMV, and he seems like a nice, albeit intense, person. The sound seemed a bit off, otherwise they were enjoyable.

Taking Back Sunday came out at 10pm, and we lost our minds.

Mark, Adam, Eddie, John, Shaun.

Most of the setlist came from the latest album, Happiness Is, as well as 2002’s Tell All Your Friends (their debut album) and 2006’s Louder Now. There was a handful of songs from their three other albums (2004’s Where You Want To Be, 2009’s New Again, and 2011’s self-titled), but, since they were the closing band, they threw in a couple of songs they weren’t originally planning on playing.

The band was very energetic and kept the crowd moving. Adam Lazzara is unexpectedly funny – I remembered that from the last time we saw them, but it’s still always a pleasant surprise. For example, he paused halfway through a sentence and sarcastically said “I’ll just wait here until this guy stops texting. I don’t want to interrupt.” TBS tends to be quite vocal about their disdain for people focusing on on their phones instead of on the live show, but since I agree with the sentiment, it’s funny to watch people being called out.

We screamed and danced through most of the set, but the highlight – for me, and, I think, for Ro – was the last three songs: “Flicker, Fade”, “Cute Without the ‘E'”, and, my personal favourite, “Make Damn Sure”.

You’ve got this new head filled up with smoke…

The last time we saw TBS – 2011 – (well, technically, Ro saw them at Warped ’12, but I was on the other side of the grounds waiting for You Me At Six – the only time I’ll ever be front row for them) – it was their first tour with the original line-up (there were a few dark  years between TAYF and the self-titled when John and Shaun left to form Straylight Run), and, while they sounded good musically, Adam’s voice wasn’t that fantastic. This time, they really brought their A-game. My only regret is that I had to hold my jacket the whole time, otherwise there would have been a lot more flailing.