Bring Me The Horizon, With While She Sleeps and Wounds at Mandela Hall, Belfast

24th August 2011

Review by Mark Ashby

As soon as you descend the stairs into this cavernous basement venue, you smell a number of things – sweat, obviously, raging hormones (the majority of the crowd are in their mid-teens, as this is one of the very few venues in the city that can put on shows for this age range) and, above all, anticipation.
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That expectation starts to rise as Dublin punks Wounds take to the stage – and they literally live up to their name, as the singer is gushing blood from his forehead, having bladed in wannabe Glenn Danzig style. They deliver enough of a pleasing set to keep the young audience’s attention, especially on closer ‘Dead Dead Fucking Dead’ (the title track to last year’s debut album), with it’s catchy two line chorus.

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While She Sleeps ratchet affairs up several notches, delivering an anarchic set that triggers the first circle pits of the evening, and definitely set the tone for their fellow Sheffield bruisers. Frontman Lawrence Taylor is impressive in his role, constantly interacting with and encouraging the audience – even ending up in the middle of them at the end of the set when he jumped from the balcony. (NOTE: he’s also a nice guy, as one lucky teenage girl found out later when he graciously posed for photographs in the VIP area – nice one lad!)

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As the light dims, the crowd surges forward for the arrival of Bring Me The Horizon, and right from the off they’re not disappointed, as Oli Sykes immediately tries to join them, sending the front three rows into raptures as he calmly steps on to the crash barrier for the opening of ‘Alligator Blood’.

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“It’s been too fucking long since we’ve been here,” he admits, constantly demanding that the crowd “jump as high as you can” and “get the fuck up” – before doing exactly that by climbing on to the lighting rig during ‘Fuck’. The crowd respond ebulliently, singing along to every word, especially when Oli hands the mic to the front row: indeed, one guy does it so well that Oli quips “this guy’s fucking better than me” and then hauls him onstage to lead the ‘Football Season Is Over’ chantalong.

With one exception, the set is drawn from BMTH’s last two albums, with the audience eating up the likes of ‘Blessed With A Curse’ and ‘Chelsea Smile’, while ‘Anthem’ sends security rushing into the pit area as the charismatic frontman calls on everyone to “get the fuck up her”: half the room needs no encouragement as bodies start coming over the barriers like a veritable teenage tsunami.

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All too soon, it’s over – even though they’ve gone ten minutes past curfew – but not before Oli once more climbs the rigging and on to the balcony, leans out over the audience and then calmly propels himself into the seething mass of humanity below. Intense stuff.

Bring Me The Horizon play this weekend’s Leeds and Reading Festivals, and then join Machine Head’s ‘Eighth Plague’ tour, along with Devil Driver and Darkest Hour, between 3 and 6 December.

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