First Love Tour - Hammerstein Ballroom - 1.30.19
The First Love Tour with Bring Me The Horizon, Thrice and The Fever 333
New York, NY - 1.30.19
Photos by Jess Williams
For many music fans, the musical genre is a black and white topic. You’re either this or you’re that. This mentality can create tension and pressure on a band that seemingly caters to one genre but wants to dip their feet into another genre. One band that is successfully pioneering the transition from metalcore to electronic rock is Bring Me The Horizon. The Sheffield, UK based band cemented themselves in the hardcore genre in the late 2000’s and over their last three records, have elevated their sound into the electronic rock genre. The band has received critical acclaim for their most recent record, amo, which was released just over a week ago and following the albums release, the start of the First Love Tour, which held two night’s at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom this week. Along with Bring Me The Horizon were opening acts, Thrice and The Fever 333.
A single white spotlight shined from stage right onto a figure in a dark blue jumpsuit standing center stage with cuffed hands and a black bag over their head. Grammy nominated, Los Angeles based supergroup, The Fever 333, have become known for their hyper-political lyricism and aggressive yet energetic performances and this performance was no different. Archival audio recordings began playing, discussing Martin Luther King and the KKK before fading into the band’s hit song “Burn It”. Lead vocalist, Jason Aalon Butler, ripped the bag off his head, grabbed the microphone and began running across the stage. The performance consisted of just that until the halfway point when things began to escalate with Jason jumping from the stage and wandering through the crowd. The short but powerful thirty minute set concluded with “Hunting Season”, where Jason climbed the first balcony and proceeded to puncture a floor tom drum and stick it over his head. All the while, guitarist, Stephen Harrison, strategically tucked himself over the balcony in the center and began to shred while hanging over the railing. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Following, was California based band, Thrice. The favorable thing about this lineup was that there were bands both new and old to cater to fans of all ages. For those fans looking for a less hardcore performance, Thrice was the perfect recipe. Moments before the bands start, a fan along the barricade began shouting out of excitement, explaining that he came from Australia just to see Thrice perform. The use of color in the stage lights created a surreal visual experience while the quality of sound Thrice provided, live, was unmatched. The band played songs both new and old including “Silhouette”, “Of Dust and Nations” as well as “Only Us”, off their most recent release, Palms.
The main name of the night, Bring Me The Horizon, was preparing to take the stage and the crowd was getting rowdy in anticipation. A single white spotlight came down onto the stage and from a cloud of smoke, lead vocalist Oli Sykes, emerged. Opening with “i apologise if you feel something” off their recent album, amo, the band built up anticipation before slamming into Grammy nominated single, “MANTRA”. Bring Me The Horizon have always been a bucket list band for me to see perform and their energy is unmatched. Despite keyboardist, Jordan Fish, having to leave the show an hour before set time due to a family emergency, the band still performed to their fullest capacity. The amount of passion and talent that is seen in this band is extremely admirable.
A full hour long set included songs from across their discography including “Avalanche”, “medicine”, “Doomed” and “Throne”, as well as a montage of old favorites including “(I Used To Make Out With) Medusa”. It is extremely respectable to see a band that has been around for so long completely dodge the destructiveness of the music industry. Most bands, especially in the metalcore scene, have a life expectancy of a decade — or until someone new and better comes along. However, due to Bring Me The Horizon’s willingness to abstract themselves from their old sound, they are just growing bigger and getting better. Here’s to hoping they win their much deserved Grammy award!
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