After conquering Wembley Arena in 2014, and breaching the mainstream with last year’s That’s The Spirit, Bring Me The Horizon don’t have anything to prove, but tonight feels like raising the stakes.
This special, one-off show for the Teenage Cancer Trust has been masterminded by programming and keys man Jordan Fish, who has brought together classical musicians (the Parallax Orchestra and choir, conducted by Simon Dobson) to reimagine the quintet’s songs, S&M-style. They are going firmly out of their comfort zone, and in the UK’s most prestigious venue.
Strolling out in front of the 60 assembled musicians tonight, the band are dressed in matching black shirts, covering their tattoos and lending them a mature, uniform identity. Free from backdrops and effects, with crowds rising high on either side of the stage, they look small and exposed.
That is, until the music begins, the swelling strings of Doomed causing everyone to rise from their seats in excitement. Despite its ironic subject matter, Happy Song with a real choir is positively euphoric, prompting a wall of death and the first of many pits. It Never Ends is a frenzied, violin-led, pint-flinging riot, the floor literally bounces to the beat of Throne, and the voices opening Shadow Moses evoke a church-like reverence. These are truly heavy reinterpretations – strings and brass complementing guitars and bass. There are times when Oli doesn’t quite find his voice, but both choir and audience are on his side, always ready to sing along. Of course, everyone knows the bridge of Antivist, and there’s something satisfying about hearing the word ’Cunt!’ screamed inside a Victorian listed building.
Hairs on arms are already raised and emotions are already heightened when Oli pauses the show to remind everyone why they’re here, gesturing to a childhood friend in the crowd who’s overcome cancer. “Cancer is just a word – it’s not a fucking sentence,” the singer declares, to loud, football-style chants of: “Horizon, Horizon, Horizon.” There is a sense of everyone being on the same team, everyone uniting for a cause as well as in a love for music. And after closing songs Drown and Oh No, the chanting continues. “You’re gonna make me cry!” says Oli, but many in the crowd have beaten him to it.