Bring Me The Horizon headline Download Festival to introduce new album ‘Nex Gen’

Bring Me The Horizon headlined Download Festival last night (June 9) with a brand new live show to announce new album ‘Post Human: Nex Gen’.

Following on from their “triumphant, hard-won victory lap” at Reading & Leeds Festivals last year, Bring Me The Horizon returned to Download for the first time since 2014 yesterday and were joined onstage by Nova Twins and Evanescence‘s Amy Lee.

Before the band took to the stage, the band teased the long-awaited follow-up to 2020’s ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ before a two-minute video introduced the band’s evolved stage show and a new, ambitious narrative involving murderous A.I. and a mysterious cult, The Church Of Genxsis. It was a cinematic, flamboyant start to a gig that was constantly high on drama.

Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon headlining Download Festival 2023. Credit: Andrew Whitton.

The band then took to the stage and launched straight into aggressive new single ‘AmEN!’ as fire erupted from the stage. “What the fuck are you pussios doing? Pit! Push it back,” demanded vocalist Oli Sykes, before he added, “Pull the fucking tampon out,” with a knowing grin.

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Sykes then marched down the runway and introduced ‘Teardrop’ by saying “if I don’t see this whole fucking place bouncing, I’m going to be upset.” After rating the most pits (“still a bit dog shit but better than I’ve seen all day”) Sykes asked for circle pits during the monstrous ‘House Of Wolves’, and the crowd obliged whole-heartedly.  It was just as chaotic for the triumphant ‘MANTRA’.

The curtains covering Bring Me The Horizon’s wall of onstage video screens then came down to reveal a realistic three headed monster as the band launched into a furious ‘Dear Diary’ and fire erupted from the sides of the stage. “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” teased Sykes before a dramatic ‘Parasite Eve’ and a stomping ‘Shadow Moses’.

Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon headlining Download Festival 2023. Credit: Andrew Whitton

“Are we still in one piece?” asked Sykes. “We’re about to bring one of my favourite bands in the world out. Show some Fucking respect,” he continued as Nova Twins took to the stage to help out with the swaggering ‘1×1’ after playing their own impressive Main Stage set earlier in the day.

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“Fucking legends,” said Sykes at the end of the song, before he added: “Does anyone ever feel a little incomplete? Like something’s missing. I’ve realised sometimes we get sad and that’s OK. It’s being aware of it and sharing it that’s important. I’m so lucky I have you people to share my problems with,” he told the crowd. “If I’m going to be lost, I’m glad I can be lost with you,” he added before a joyful, technicolour rendition of ‘LosT’. A burst of rainbow confetti erupted for the song’s hyper-pop breakdown.

Bring Me The Horizon then left the stage, replaced by a hooded figure. Fresh from her own closing set at the festival’s second stage, Evanescence’s Amy Lee then took off her hood to massive cheers as she sang the opening part of epic ‘Survival Horror’ cut ‘One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Death’.

Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon headlining Download Festival 2023. Credit: Andrew Whitton.

The Sheffield metal veterans then returned to the stage to join Lee for the glitching ‘Nihilist Blues’, sung on record by Grimes, as lasers filled the stage. “Make some fucking noise,” demanded Sykes at the end of the track before asking, “My god, what are we doing here?”

“It’s a little dramatic but I’d top myself for you lot,” Sykes continued as the band launched into a cathartic ‘DiE4u’ before teasing the “big” ‘Kingslayer’. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you do, but if you stand still during this song, you are a very special kinda knobhead,” he warned before the track’s rave-inducing breakdown.

“I’m fucking knackered,” he admitted afterwards, before offering to end the set there. “It’s been good,” he said before he apologised for being “really bossy” and asked for people to get on their friend’s shoulders. “I know it’s a bit Coldplay,” he joked. The band then performed a gorgeous, stripped-back ‘Follow You’ to close out the main set.

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After a brief encore, Bring Me The Horizon returned for an emotional ‘Drown’ and a hammering ‘Throne’. “You guys have been wicked. Remember it’s the cracks that let the light shine through,” said Sykes as the whole stage was covered in fire while Resident Evil-inspired masked figures joined the band.

After the track, Sykes admitted he tried to write something “eloquent” to sum up what this gig meant to him and the rest of the band but he couldn’t remember any of it. “All I can say is thank you so much for supporting our band, we love you so much,” he said before a huge ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ as balloons with the band’s cryptic “Nex Gen” logo flooded the field.

“You guys are the best, I’m sorry this is the last one, I want to stay here all night,” added Sykes, now among the crowd. “You don’t understand how much this means to us. I will never forget this moment for as long as I live.”

Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon headlining Download Festival 2023. Credit: Matt Higgs.

Bring Me The Horizon’s Download setlist was:

‘The House Of Wolves’
‘Dear Diary,’
‘Parasite Eve’
‘Shadow Moses’
‘1X1’ (with Nova Twins)
‘One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Death’ (with Amy Lee)
‘Nihilist Blues’ (with Amy Lee)
‘Follow You’
‘Can You Feel My Heart’

Moments after they finished the stunning, cinematic set, Bring Me The Horizon announced new album ‘Post Human: Nex Gen’ alongside a massive UK and Ireland arena tour for 2024.

Pre-sale tickets for the tour will begin on Wednesday, June 14 at 10am BST, with a general sale following on Friday, June 16, also at 10am. Find your tickets here.

Bring Me The Horizon will play:

9 – Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
10 – Bournemouth, BIC
12 – Birmingham, Utilita Arena
13 – Manchester, AO Arena
14 – Glasgow, OVO Arena
16 – Newcastle, Utilita Arena
17 – Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena
19 – Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena
20 – London, The O2
23 – Dublin, 3Arena