Build it, and they will come.
That seems to have been the mantra at the core of the UK and European legs of Bad Omens’ Tour Of The Concrete Jungle. With venue upgrades, extra dates and instant sellouts at every turn, the band’s first trip over the Atlantic in just over four years has become one of the hottest tickets in post-hardcore, and with good reason. Just over a year after the release of their instantly seminal full-length THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND, they have continued to go from strength to strength, using everything they have learned in their almost decade as a band to near enough perfect their craft. From virality on TikTok to topping the Billboard alternative charts and, most recently, claiming the No.01 spot on Active Rock Radio in the US, to name a few, they have the makings of going all the way to the top with the form they are in.
And that’s how we find ourselves in the north of London, Tufnell Park to be specific, on the second of three nights at The Dome, watching one of metal’s latest breakthrough sensations show precisely why you should believe in them.
Establishing an awe-inspiring atmosphere instantly with dozens of searchlights shining out on the anticipating crowd the moment that the energetic Oxymorrons and haunting GHØSTKID have finished their support slots, it’s an attention to detail that rarely slips throughout Bad Omens’ time on stage. From the deep red hue that coats the curtain-raising bludgeoning that is CONCRETE JUNGLE to the gorgeous pink and blue split that drowns the stage in the build-up to a chaotic rendition of Mercy - of which they were joined by Architects' Sam Carter for on Night One - the band have carefully pieced together every inch of their performance, creating a beautiful display that feels like it belongs on arena stages. And in Noah Sebastian, they have a frontman made for rooms of that size too. With a voice that can switch between crystalline pop and guttural fury like its second nature and an intense stage demeanour that allows you to feel every bit of heartbreak, anger and longing that leaves his body, it’s impossible not to be totally enamoured with every move he makes, even when he is at his most demonic.
Then there’s the absolute quality of the songs they have to play with. The Grey sends shivers up your spine with every towering chorus that hits, the delicate nature of Who are you? slows things down to a stunningly affecting pace, and Like A Villain wraps itself around your throat and squeezes with such a sleek and savage potency. Using ebb and flow to their full advantage also allows the moments that they go heavy to almost rip your skin clean off your bones, such as with the nu metal worship of ARTIFICIAL SUICIDE or glorious debauchery of Dethrone. And you only have to look around at the crowd to know what these songs mean to those in attendance. From those making the pit swell to those reaching for the sky holding back the tears as they scream back every word, the array of emotions on show only heightens the occasion, transforming it into something more than just a band playing to their fans.
As the pulsating techno beat of What do you want from me? brings proceedings to a close, you can’t help but feel like this is the last time Bad Omens will be playing in rooms of this size. The ambition, the precision and the devoted craft injected into every inch of their performance, matched with a back catalogue that will be the benchmark for other bands in years to come, every element fell into place as it should tonight. It's a moment that will be remembered in the band’s story as when they cemented their place as one of metal’s most exciting and essential breakthrough bands.
Who knows what the next step forward will be for Bad Omens, but the only certainty is that it will be absolutely massive.
Bad Omens The Dome, London setlist March 04, 2023
1. CONCRETE JUNGLE
2. ARTIFICIAL SUICIDE
3. Nowhere To Go
4. Glass Houses
5. The Grey
6. Never Know
8. Who are you?
11. What It Cost
12. Like A Villain
13. Just Pretend
14. THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND
16. What do you want from me?