Of Mice & Men are quickly on the way to becoming one of the biggest young metal bands around, and this was aptly demonstrated by the whole European leg of their world tour being sold out months prior to the actual tour.
Kicking off the show were Beartooth [7/10], a band fronted by former Attack Attack vocalist Caleb Shomo. Having only released one EP, 2013’s Sick, it was incredible just how quickly the band got the crowd going. With their sound blending influences from Every Time I Die and Letlive. to Shomo drawing on his metalcore roots, there was something for everyone in this set. With the band due to release their debut album later this year, they will be a band to look out for.We also caught up with Caleb before the show, and you can listen to the interview here.
Following them are an act who are currently conquering the world with a unique brand of metal which encompasses everything from house music to RnB and pop; Issues [9/10] came very close to stealing the show. With a set that blended tracks from their incredible EP Black Diamonds with tracks off their debut album (read the review here), the band were on top form. The vocals of Tyler Carter sounded note perfect to the album, just showing he has one of the best vocal ranges in music today. However it was not just simply the ability of the band to replicate the music as well as it comes across on record, the band simply had this incredible stage presence. The effortless sense of cool that the band’s resident DJ Scout exuded is something very few people are blessed with, and in combination with the raw energy of his brother, bassist Skyler Accord, this added another dimension to their live show. While they were only a support band, it didn’t stop the whole venue jumping and going crazy for ‘Love. Sex. Riot.’ as well as singing every word back to the band during newer tracks like ‘Stingray Affliction’ and ‘Never Lose Your Flame’.
By the time Of Mice & Men [9/10] hit the stage, the crowd were well and truly warmed up and the band had big shoes to fill. The screams were near-deafening when the band walked on stage, which goes to show just how much this band means to their fans. Opening with ‘Public Service Announcement’, a song which lyrically is a middle finger to the press over various media troubles they have recently had. With over half of the set being made up of songs from the new album, Restoring Force (read the review here), they fitted seamlessly into the set and went down as well as, if not better than, older tracks. The best song of the night was cult classic ‘OG Loko’ where the Birmingham crowd showed they knew how to “go hard in the mother***ing paint”, with mass jumping and moshing, as well as the best wall of death of the night. Dressed in black t-shirts and jeans, without any pyro, the band relied on the quality of the songs and the natural stage presence of the band to put on a show.Austin Carlile demonstrated why he is considered one of the best frontmen around with this performance; and this, combined with the clean vocals provided by Aaron Pauley, helped create a vocal 1-2 punch which is breathtaking to hear live. With songs such as ‘Let Live’ and ‘Second and Sebring’ being sprinkled into the set halfway through, it really shows how much faith the band have in their new album. Closing the night on the new single ‘You’re Not Alone’ ended the show on a positive note. Instead of the positive preaching in between songs that many bands seem to do now, Of Mice & Men reserve their positive messages for the lyrics of their songs.
Overall this show was a gauntlet thrown down by Of Mice & Men, they are ready to play with the big boys of metal and there is no doubt that the next time they come to these shores, they will be playing far bigger rooms. Issues also showed that they are one of the most original groups in metal and are as exciting live as they are on record. Beartooth are also a band with a big future ahead of them. In years to come, this line up will be one that will only be seen together at the top of festival bill or in an arena.