Review: All Points East, 31st May 2019
The second weekend of All Points East kicked off on Friday 31st May with a day that can only be described as an absolute triumph for British heavy music. Everything from Lotus Eater opening the North stage, all the way up to Bring Me the Horizon’s two-hour headline set was an exhibition of the best that British metal has to offer. Indeed it was clear that despite moving away from heavier music with their latest releases, BMTH still have a keen interest in promoting smaller bands, and it was especially impressive for Oli Sykes to bring out Lotus Eater vocalist Jamie Mclees to perform mosh anthem ‘Antivist,’ who absolutely nailed it in front of such a huge audience. The heavy acts were easily the highlights of the day; Employed to Serve continue to go from strength to strength with each show, whipping up an absolute frenzy in the pit with hits off new album ‘Eternal Forward Motion,’ and creating a complete dust storm on the hot May afternoon.
Three performances in particular were completely iconic, and While She Sleeps looked like a band with something to prove during their short set, smashing up the stage by the end of their show. Hits from new album ‘So What?’ went down an absolute storm alongside older songs like the eternal singalong that is Four Walls, and it was an absolute robbery that they weren’t given more time to showcase their talent after April’s incredible Roundhouse show. Whilst a large portion of the crowd may have heard of them through Oli Sykes’ feature on ‘Silence Speaks’ (which was an absolute pleasure to hear live), it was clear that Sleeps were one of the most talented bands on the bill, who absolutely left everyone wanting more.
Bring Me the Horizon’s first ever festival headline set was a band at their very best, and despite some criticism of their new style it was clear that this was a band built for huge shows like this. With pyro to envy even Rammstein and gigantic production – including a full screen and dancers – it was obvious to everyone in attendance that this was not the same band who put out ‘Count Your Blessings‘ in 2006, but a fully-fledged festival headliner. Nevertheless despite their lofty heights, BMTH had not forgotten their roots, pleasing every old school fan in attendance by busting out the early tracks – including Pray For Plagues, indicating that they were still in touch with their deathcore roots. Oli Sykes’ voice has come under criticism in the past, however he sounded better than he has in years at APE, especially on the older tracks, which is surprising considering the recent vocal surgery he underwent. The absolute climax of their performance was The Sadness Will Never End alongside Sam Carter for the first time in several years, and it was an total treat to see metal’s two biggest frontmen on stage together, whilst Dani Filth appearing to guest on Wonderful Life was another welcome surprise – especially considering that Cradle Of Filth were performing in Prague the very next night. Without a doubt, after All Points East, headline sets at Reading and Leeds and Download are in the very near future for Bring Me the Horizon.
The absolute highlight of the day however was just before BMTH’s performance, where Architects took to the stage for an undeniably legendary show. Having just come off the back of their Wembley Arena headline show and US tour, this was an arena band firing on all cylinders, who have undoubtedly earned their position as the biggest and best UK metal band. Every Architects show is an emotional experience since the passing of guitarist Tom Searle in 2016, but frontman Sam Carter said it best when he spoke about headlining a stage in the middle of London, saying that “Tom would not have been able to believe how ridiculous this has all gotten!” Without a doubt the success of Architects since Tom’s death has been one of metal’s most uplifting stories, and this show was an absolute victory for the band and their latest release ‘Holy Hell,’ which they themselves described as a cathartic experience to write; especially for drummer and Tom’s twin brother Dan Searle. It is obvious how closely connected Architects and their fans are, simply from listening to how loudly the crowd screamed “Hope is a prison” back at Sam during the chorus of Gone With The Wind, as well as looking around to see tears in the crowd during Sam’s speech about Tom and how the future of the band is ‘for him forever.’ If nothing else, I consider it an injustice that Architects are not headlining festivals themselves – they are the arguably the best band in Britain at the moment and consistently put on an excellent live show.