Bring Me the Horizon provide unquestionable proof that rock will never die at All Points East Festival 2019
Friday was All Point’s East’s metal day, with headliners Bring Me the Horizon joined by a sterling line up of hard rock, alternative and rock-tinged rap. The festival in Victoria Park is only in its second year, but this year was a mammoth ten days of live music.
The event was well organised, with one main stage and three smaller ones. It’s easy to navigate and not too big, so you can hop from stage to stage if you wish. There is a great selection of food, from filthy vegan burgers to wood-fired pizzas looking like they’ve just come out of the ovens at Franco Manca rather than been produced in a field. There were spicy chicken options served with chips and a Mexican salsa, coated in a delicious buttermilk and spice crust with a pleasing kick.
Elsewhere, on top of the music, Tinder had a booth for scooping up unattached rock fans and many were seen sporting iridescent plastic Tinder visors throughout the day. There were also big queues for free temporary tattoos. It’s worth mentioning that the biggest bane of getting drunk and dancing in a field, the Portaloo, was not, repeat not, disgusting here.
The alternative crowd was very friendly and hyped to be there, out in force to prove that rock is not dead. There were many classic tropes on display. Absolute full marks go to Happyalone on the Firestone stage for pure rock abandon: they gave it their all like they were on the main stage, and that’s exactly the way to get there. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so to speak. The singer was all-out; the guitarist and bassist were glazed in the insouciant way only rockers can be and the drummer threw one of his drumsticks into the crowd at the end. Bloody awesome. Rock’s not just the music, it’s a way of life.
Bristolian punk rock band IDLES were another highlight, offering melodic but hard rock from their latest album Joy As an Act of Resistance, with sage advice in tunes like Never Fight a Man with a Perm. Although they did not play their tuneful resistance song Great, they did play Danny Nedelko, another track fighting against damaging nationalism. They inspire true devotion: chatting to one fan it transpired he had seen them 13 times, trailing their tour, and was next off to follow them to Barcelona.
American rap group Run the Jewels blazed on stage in a mass of hype and excitement to Queen’s We Are the Champions. Their brand of old-school scratching and sampling with fast and furious lyrical dexterity was irresistible and had the crowd going crazy. Rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer El-P left it all on the stage, spitting a storm.
Like all the acts of the day, they also had a powerful message of self-worth and empathy. For some, the talking between songs was a little too serious when they just came to bounce, but their hearts were in the right place. It’s hard to pick highlights from their set as the whole thing was so fast and furious and it was all on point. However, Stay Gold was particularly rousing, as was Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck). The audience was chanting “RTJ” and eating out of the palm of their hands.
Architects on the North Stage were raw and shreddy, with proper death metal vocals: the singer had you wondering how he speaks afterwards.
The headliners played a monster 20 songs in a two-hour set, with psychedelic visuals, explosive pyrotechnics and black streamers exploding memorably over the crowd at the end. Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes was emotional, tearfully declaring that rock is not dead before an acoustic rendition of Sleepwalking. There were plenty of guests: Dani Filth on Wonderful Life, Sam Carter on The Sadness Will Never End and Choir Noir on It Never Ends. The most striking was Antivist with young Lotus Eater, who had played his own set earlier in the day. Sykes tipped him as the future of the genre and it was hard to disagree; he certainly grabbed attention.
Sykes is a powerfully charismatic frontman and the show was spectacular and epic. An encore of Throne and Drown left the crowd wild but satiated.
Talking to the crowd, it was clear that this music really meant something to the fans. One man spoke of a friend of his who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and Sykes had personally tweeted him his best wishes. This was big, loud, angry music on the surface with real heart underneath.
A big damn headbang of a day and proof that rock will never die.
Photo: Jordan Hughes
All Points East events ran at Victoria Park from 24th May until 2nd June 2019. For further information and future events visit All Points East’s website here.