The American Dream Tour at House of Blues

Bring Me The Horizon headlined a show on Tuesday at the House of Blues and shared the night with metalcore bands Of Mice and Men and letlive., plus post-hardcore band Issues. In keeping with metalcore tradition, there was much screaming, crowdsurfing, and ad-libbing. What stood out the most was the illusion of rebellion that these bands played up so well- and the way the audience ate it up.

There is a sign at the Houston House of Blues. It effectively reads, “Due to the dangers of crowdsurfing, moshing and head-walking, we cannot allow you to do any of these things.” Maybe that sign is a relic from a bygone era and the policy is no longer in effect. Or the bands that played on Tuesday got clearance for encouraging crowdsurfing.

In any case, the first band, Issues, played solidly and stuck to routine.  Nothing extraordinary, but they played their most popular songs well. Their setlist:

  1. Stingray Affliction

  2. Love Sex Riot

  3. Never Lose Your Flames

  4. King of Amarillo

  5. Hooligans

They were loud and flashy, which was good enough to get the crowd pumped up and ready for letlive.-the only band that acted out against the system House of Blues has for maintaining order in concerts.

Popular rock bands gain fame through not only their music, but often, through their insane stage antics. letlive. vocalist Jason Aalon Butler epitomized the craze and even acknowledged it, admitting that “the music” inspired him to do crazy things. He spit. He took long sips of water and spewed it back out. His frizzy beard and flaxen hair seemed to have minds of their own, tracing erratic patterns in the air. Really, Butler’s performance was a true test of how good the stage crew and bouncers at House of Blues were. At times he would descend from the stage, into the crowd, and continue to sing all while being crowd-surfed by his jubilant fans. His microphone cord became a coiled lasso that wrapped itself around the guitarist, yet not fazing them in the slightest. Tech had to run onstage and disentangle the mic cord several times. Butler, in addition to delivering elevated vocals and guttural growls, entertained the audience.

Emotive. Powerful. Unrestrained. Butler took a moment to talk about the time when he defied death. He said that some time ago, his doctor diagnosed him with an unspecified disease and gave him two years to live. But Butler claims he looked up at the sky- the ceiling- God- Michael Jackson- whatever was above him, and that he heard from that higher presence that the only way he would die would be by his own terms. His voice choked with emotion. “My father once told me men don’t cry. Well, I guess I’m a p**** then,” said Butler.

And as far as the music goes, it was on point. Here were the songs they played.

  1. Banshee (Ghost Fame)

  2. The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion

  3. That Fear Fever

  4. Muther

  5. 27 Club

  6. Renegade 86′

Of Mice and Men- though fantastic recorded- were comparatively disappointing live. Their setlist and musical talent sufficed to entertain the crowd, but they seemed more detached- more professional- than letlive. As all professional musicians with countless gigs do, they acknowledged the crowd- and the fact that they were performing in Houston, Texas- and played their music straightforwardly. Their setlist:

  1. Bones Exposed

  2. Let Live

  3. Would You Still Be There

  4. O.G. Loko

  5. Product of a Murderer

  6. Still YDG’n

  7. The Flood

  8. You’re Not Alone

  9. The Depths

Finally the headliners arrived onstage in a blaze of lights and a million flashing foil particles. All the pyrotechnics had been saved for Bring Me the Horizon.

They made an effort to engage the crowd. First, they entreated fans to put down their cameras and their phones and live in the moment. About half did. It was short-lasted.

Vocalist Oliver Sykes, after a few songs, offered a challenge: If you want to touch my hand, he said, crowdsurf over the barriers and touch it. This resulted in a tidal wave of crowdsurfers yearning to take him at his word and an equally impressive defensive line of bouncers stopping many fans from getting to the stage. But some were able to touch Sykes directly, including a guy dressed in a Spider-man costume.

Bring Me the Horizon played their standard setlist for the American Dream tour.

  1. Can You Feel My Heart

  2. Shadow Moses

  3. Diamonds Aren’t Forever

  4. The House of Wolves

  5. Go to Hell, for Heaven’s Sake

  6. And the Snakes Start to Sing

  7. Empire (Let Them Sing)

  8. It Never Ends

  9. Chelsea Smile

  10. Antivist

  11. Sleepwalking

This was a show no self-respecting metalcore listener would have wanted to miss.


Nicholas Randall

I play video games, go to concerts, ride my bike, and post what I think about it all on this blog.

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