There’s something refreshing about seeing a deathcore band perform in a ballroom whose stage extends into a catwalk. Something prideful in seeing a frontman from all the way across the pond in Sheffield, England, perform wearing a custom Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic jersey with his last name embroidered into the back above the number 19. (To honor his favorite Blackhawk, perhaps? Maybe I’m projecting.)
When I was a kid, deathcore/screamo music was just finding its way into mainstream consciousness. Like other areas of rock music, it lent itself to a community for outcasts — this subgenre was dominated by types who stereotypically dressed in all black, wore their hair in front of their faces, and formed an identity and a likeness on their experiences with depression and apathy. It seems silly now, but it was real, and that was an identity that I personally found comfort in.
With each record since their debut in 2004, Bring Me the Horizon have inched further and further away from the “deathcore” label — their newest record amo is much better categorized as “electronic rock” (or something of that nature). But whenever they come around, the room fills with people who fit the earlier mentioned demographic, most of whom have grown out of it but remember that as a shaping part of their identity. Bring Me the Horizon and their unapologetically dark, painful, suicidal idealizing lyrics gave people the space to feel, and none of us could ever forget it. That’s why to this day, we still show up.
The English quintet crafted a setlist that was in most everyone’s favor, playing mostly tracks from their two most recent records, and sprinkling in songs off of 2013’s Sempiternal, their last record before their strong shift away from the lingering label of deathcore gone metalcore. To the whole room’s excitement, BMTH included a medley of four of their most well recognized deathcore tracks from the early days. In a ballroom. With Oli out on a catwalk. In a custom Blackhawks jersey. I feel like I’m describing a dream I had.
Bring Me The Horizon’s world tour in support of 2019’s amo continues after Chicago across the south and western U.S. before hitting the United Kingdom, Mexico, and beyond.