Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS played London's Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust last night. Here's what we learned on a special, special night.
TONIGHT, ‘WE’ ARE TAKING OVER TOWN
The Royal Albert Hall might be one of the most beautiful, prestigious venues in the world, but tonight it belongs to the rock kids. As much as anything, this evening is a slap in the face for people who look down on rock, metal and punk and assume it lacks the sophistication or artistic nous to warrant access to the highest halls in the land. Watching a sea of black hoodies pile through these grand Victorian doors tonight is proof that we can belong anywhere we want to.
AS A SPECTACLE, BMTH WITH AN ORCHESTRA TAKES SOME BEATING
Finally, as the lights dim and The Parallax Orchestra take up their positions, the excitement in the room is at fever pitch. But while BMTH walk on stage to deafening applause tonight, they head straight to their positions and get down to business.
Business, it turns out, begins with a swooning, enveloping rendition of ‘Doomed’, all rising strings and choral flourishes. It is the first sign that tonight is going to be something really rather special.
THE VOLUME OF WORK THAT HAS GONE INTO THESE ARRANGEMENTS IS INSANE
Let’s be clear, adding a 60-piece orchestra to your sonic palette is no mean feat, and tonight is a demonstration of the work BMTH - and especially, it has to be said, Jordan Fish - are prepared to employ to fulfil their creative vision.
The cymbal accents of ‘True Friends’ are embellished with hair-elongating violin trills and the emphatic sucker punch of ‘Happy Song’ is bolstered by sinister blasts from the brass section, but perhaps surprisingly - on a night dominated by material from ‘That’s The Spirit’ - it’s ‘It Never Ends’ which truly steals the show in its first live outing for two years. Monolithic brilliance.
OH, BUT THIS IS STILL A ROCK SHOW
We might be in a room that is more used to holding The Last Night Of The Proms but there is no mistaking what tonight is all about. It takes less than three songs before the floorboards are creaking under the weight of the first wall of death. Lovely stuff.
PVRIS WILL BE THE NEXT BAND TO PULL OFF A FEAT LIKE THIS
Warming us up tonight, the Massachusetts mob look every bit at home on in these surrounds. And even though the choir stalls and orchestra seats on stage around them are empty for now, Lynn Gunn’s once-in-a-generation voice makes them a more than fitting hors d’oeuvre for the main course.
OLI SYKES' SINGING IS SUPERB
Yes, we’ve all seen the chatter about whether Mr Sykes is really delivering his lines without some pre-recorded assistance, but let’s get it straight: tonight the most iconic frontman of his generation doesn’t just step up to the plate, he smashes every piece of crockery in sight.
Surrounded by brilliantly trained musicians of all creeds, he holds his own. Bravo, lad.
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TONIGHT IS A REAL MARKER IN THE HISTORY OF THIS BAND
Forget, for a second, the major festivals that BMTH will inevitably headline in the near future, tonight was the night the quintet showed everyone how far they have come from the deathcore days of old.
They might not be the first band to play with an orchestra ('S+M', anyone?) but the journey they have taken to scale musical heights that they comprehensively conquered tonight should be an inspiration for any band wondering just how much you can do with a few guitars and a microphone.
This was BMTH coming of age and showing, conclusively, that they are not content with just being the biggest British rock band of their era, but that creatively, their aspirations are well beyond the horizon.
Words by Tomas Doyle, photos by Ben Gibson.
There are full photo galleries of Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS online, too!
You can donate to Teenage Cancer Trust at their website, by buying any of these CD/DVD packages from the show or texting 'REACH' to 70500 (UK only, see full terms and conditions).