UK post-metalcore giants Bring Me The Horizon are in the final week of the North American leg of the First Love Tour in support of their latest album amo, which dropped back in late January. They have been accompanied on this trek by Irvine, CA rockers Thrice, and rock supergroup FEVER 333. We caught up with them as they came to play UMass Lowell’s Tsongas Center on February 1, 2019.
The night began with a massive line of eager fans waiting in the cold outside the venue--luckily they had plenty of time to get in before getting their faces melted by FEVER 333. Led by their fearless frontman Jason Aalon Butler (ex-letlive) they unleashed a sonic assault that had fans bouncing along with them. The set began with Butler standing before a blacked out stage, lit only by a spotlight, a sack over his head as if he were awaiting execution, all the while, racial justice-related headlines from news stories both recent and old played out. Guitarist Stevis Harrison (ex-The Chariot) and Aric Improta (Night Verses) emerged and the band launched straight into “Burn It,” from their debut record Strength In Numb333rs.
Get engulfed by the “Burn It” video here.
Their set didn’t slow down, with Butler making his way into the stands later in the set to perform amidst the fans in the seats, including two young children whose dad seemed to be having a blast! After this song, Butler spoke briefly about how this show was a safe space for everyone to express themselves respectfully and gave a nod to the children that he had been performing next to, who he referred to as the future generation. If you’re nostalgic for letlive, like I am, seeing FEVER 333, while not the same, is a pretty good fix. Not to mention the sheer intensity of Butler that is still there and his bandmates. During the final number, “Hunting Season,” Harrison made his way out into the crowd to play from the middle of a circle pit before himself climbing into the seats as well. All told, it was a hell of a way to start the night out.
Fans were warmed up by the time Thrice emerged. I’m a huge Thrice fan, but it was pretty hard to watch them try to follow FEVER 333--they’re just such a different live act, favoring building melodies over the raw energy of the previous set. That being said, they gave it their all, playing a medley of material old and new that favored tracks from their recent release Palms, including “Only Us,” “The Grey,” and others. Older Thrice fans were treated to “Of Dust and Nations,” “Silhouette,” and “The Earth Will Shake,” which were probably the most well-received by the crowd that evening. Frontman Dustin Kensrue had been having some trouble from a cold at the start of this tour, but seems to have recovered--his vocals sounding flawless during the evening’s performance.
Can’t see this Thrice video that well? Just “Hold Up A Light”!
After a somewhat lengthy set change-over, it was finally time. The lights dimmed and frontman Oli Sykes emerged through a dense cloud of stage fog, and walked out onto an extended thrust stage as he sang the opening lines of "I Apologise If You Feel Something," the intro off of their new album. As the final notes faded out, he disappeared only to reappear with the full band and launch into "Mantra," and "House of Wolves." Tonight's show was a bit different as the band was missing key member keyboardist/backing vocalist Jordan Fish, who had returned home for a family emergency a couple of days earlier. Bring Me The Horizon had recorded their set the night prior to his departure and made use of a live recording of his vocals in place of having him there. Luckily, the backing tracks were great and mixed well with Sykes' vocals to the point where his absence was only visually noticeable. As for Sykes, he sounded perfect on newer tracks like "Wonderful Life," and "Medicine," but seemed to struggle on older material.
Speaking of older material--the setlist this tour has been pretty variable. Some nights Bring Me The Horizon seems to play more older, heavier songs, other nights, they play none. Indeed, while some fans were chanting to hear older tracks, like "Football Season is Over," and "Chelsea Smile," the band for some reason decided not to play the medley of tracks from that era that they've played on other dates. Instead, fans were treated to a multitude of songs from Sempiternal including "Shadow Moses," "Antivist," "Sleepwalking," and "Can You Feel My Heart," all of which were greeted with great enthusiasm by a majority of the diehard fans on the floor. Their set went on to feature an acoustic rendition of "Drown," that ended up becoming one giant sing-along before the full band returned for an encore of "Doomed," and "Throne." If you haven't caught BMTH on this tour yet, your time is running out. Their run across the states ends on February 16 in Las Vegas before the band flies back home and then to Mexico for a few more shows. The remaining tour dates are below!
Remaining “First Love Tour” Dates:
02/15 - Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
02/16 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
When we’re feeling in the dumps, this is our kind of “Medicine”.