All Points East has become a hotly tipped event for the festival season since its not-so-humble beginnings last year, and 2019 was no exception. Held over two consecutive weekends, we went along to check it out as Bring Me The Horizon headlined on the second Friday.

Due to it being a weekday, it wasn’t so busy upon arrival in the late afternoon — a good thing, really, as this meant that mobile phone service was not yet being affected by huge crowds. Scarlxrd was one of the first artists to appear on the East Stage, which was essentially the main stage, delivering his unique blend of trap and heavy metal. The former YouTuber was on top of his game, evoking the crowd whose immeasurable energy fed right off of his own. Backed up by the genius of Birmingham’s DJ Jacky P, there wasn’t much more you can ask for from a set that early in the day.

Alice Glass was next up on the very same stage. Once a member of electronic duo Crystal Castles, since then she has risen like a phoenix and come into her own as a solo artist. She was joined on stage by former HEALTH guitarist and synth king Jupiter Keyes, and Jess Bowen of The Summer Set fame on drums. Glass treated fans to both tracks from her new venture and Crystal Castles songs i.e. ‘Alice Practice’, etc. Springing from left to right, putting her all into every part of the set, her stage presence was ultimately one of the highlights of the day.

The Firestone Stage only offered a handful of artists throughout the day, with one of them being Scottish pop-punkers Vukovi, an up-and-coming band that have managed to firmly root themselves in the scene. It was interesting to see that they not only drew a large crowd but absolutely worked the small stage they had been placed on. Lead singer Janine Shilstone burns with a fire that is so refreshing, making her the resolute star of the show in conjunction with her bandmates.

It was an opportunity to relive the golden age of emo when Sleeping With Sirens hit the North Stage, though it was somewhat of a surprise to see that lead singer Kellin Quinn had bleached his famous deep black locks. He was looking akin to Kurt Cobain, but that didn’t stop the vocalist from stealing the show by showing the audience that nothing much has changed when it comes to Sleeping With Sirens’ brilliant stage presence. The mixed bag set offered tracks both new and old, though it was the latter with the likes of ‘If You Can’t Hang’ and ‘We Like It Loud’ that seemed to go down well with the crowd before them.

While She Sleeps performed next, and that’s when people really started to swarm into Victoria Park. The Sheffield natives are well loved in the metalcore scene and have been proving their worth for years, meaning that now they no longer have to. They received one hell of a welcome when they appeared on stage, complete with ear-piercing whistles, cheers — and deservedly so. Their new album So What? was a focal point, but they also offered up fan favourites from their back catalogue that certainly seemed to keep the crowd sated. There’s not much you can say to critique a band like While She Sleeps (lovingly known by their fans as “Sleeps”), as everything they have to offer is so genuine: they put their all into their performances, playing off of their raw talent and determination.

Architects drew an incredible crowd, which should come as no surprise as it wasn’t long ago that they played their now infamous headline show at the SSE Arena Wembley. It’s evident that emotion really fuels this band, and they are spurred on by the tragedies that they have experienced to truly do better with every performance and give their fans the very best. Fans tapped into this with no argument, and that was further apparent at All Points East as they responded the best they could — screaming back the lyrics, opening up the pits, and dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to their favourite band. Vocalist Sam Carter briefly touched upon the 2016 death of guitarist Tom Searle, announcing that “the future of the band is for him, forever,” for which notably there was not a dry eye in sight.

Finally, it was time for Bring Me The Horizon to hit the stage for their epic two-hour set. They’ve faced a lot of criticism in the last couple of years for their change in sound, as they ditched their much heavier style for something softer; influenced more by electronic music, and more. For the most part, the five-piece have refused to let this phase them, and they even had a track on their most recent album Amo entitled ‘Heavy Metal’, which poked fun at the situation.

Despite the disapproval of some of their following, Bring Me The Horizon are still a band ahead of the game. Their headline performance at All Points East was a fitting setting for them to really show off what they were capable of — something they did, and then some. They were joined on stage by dancers dressed throughout in an array of outfits, sometimes wielding flamethrowers, that brought a little je ne sais quoi to the staging of an already brilliant band.

You’re never going to have everyone content with a setlist, even at two hours long, but personally, we thought the picks for the evening were top notch. Kicking off with ‘MANTRA’, Bring Me The Horizon powered through with tracks from every single one of their albums. ‘Wonderful Life’ had the fantastic Dani Filth come out for his feature, eliciting cheers of surprise from the crowd, and a similar reaction came when for the first time since 2016, Sam Carter of Architects joined the band on stage for ‘The Sadness Will Never End’. Other highlights included an acoustic version of ‘Sleepwalking’, ‘It Never Ends’ being performed with Choir Noir, and Lotus Eater hitting the stage of ‘Antivist’. Ultimately, it was a set between friends.

The encore consisted simply of ‘Throne’ and ‘Drown’, but seemed to mean so much more as the set came to a close and the diehard fans bid a no doubt short farewell to their everything. Sykes and co. are not only brilliant showmen who are dedicated to their craft but genuine people who resonate so well with their large fanbase. They closed off All Points East spectacularly and we can’t wait to see what the next step of progression will be for them.

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