It was a given that Bring Me the Horizon would be among the highlights of the Los Angeles edition of Knotfest, but there was a pair of especially poignant moments of off the cuff stage banter that best framed the significance of the evening.
Frontman Oli Sykes shared that Slipknot was one of the very first bands that shaped his love for heavy music and revisited those young, impressionable days. "If someone would have told me that I would be playing with these guys
The sort of innocuous remark inadvertently spoke to not only the legacy and influence of the night's headliners, but highlighted Bring The Horizon's earned rank - from once emerging prospects to accomplished contemporaries, That was further emphasized as the band dove into a rendition of "Drown" that fully consumed Banc of California Stadium - stadium-sized singalongs and all.
The second instance would punctuate the band's set and offered an humbling perspective of the evening as a whole. Just prior to closing out with the band's anthemic "Throne," Sykes presented an all too real scenario. "What if this was the last song you heard live? You would lose your shit right?"
Over the course of nearly the last two years, the experience of live music was one that went missing from all of our lives - a reality that never permeated our collective consciousness, let alone seemed plausible. Yet it was. For months. And months.
Evoking a sense of celebration, catharsis and release simultaneously, Sykes and Bring Me the Horizon ultimately added a new narrative to the evening, one that resonated universally. With each of the band's 12 tracks, a new talking point underscoring the same thing - music has always been the great common denominator, but now more than ever, it remains what we have all needed - bands and fans alike.
Songs like "Parasite Eve" provided a sense of therapy during the darkest times of Covid. Songs like "Teardrops" and "Die4U" offered an outlet for emotional trauma and strained relationships. Songs like "The House Of Wolves" afforded the opportunity to disregard our inhibitions - the kind that prompted Sykes to encourage the fans to throw caution to the wind, dive into a circle pit for the first time and "Run around in a circle like a fucking idiot."
Then there are songs like "Obey" - the kind that speak to our sense of camaraderie. A tandem-vocal track that saw Sykes welcome guest YUNGBLUD onstage to articulate a pointed middle finger at corruption and the abuse of power that became far too evident during such an era of turbulence.
While Knotfest Los Angeles was always framed as much more than a Friday night rock concert, Bring Me the Horizon's time onstage further illuminated not only the power of music after such an extended stretch without it, but how they as a band proudly carry the torch for the next generation of those that understand and appreciate the depth of the sound.