Of Mice & Men

support Issues + Beartooth
author JWM date 16/04/14 venue The Mo Club, Southampton, UK

Standing in the queue of this sold out show, which moves through the doors at a snails pace, really puts things in perspective. For one thing, no one at the back is going to be watching the opener any time soon, and secondly and more importantly this is the start of Of Mice & Men taking Europe by storm. The first show of an eleven date, completely sell-out tour featuring the biggest of America's metalcore underground supporting a band who- with their third album "Restoring Force"- have burst out and thrust themselves further onto the international stage. It shows with the anticipation surrounding this show that this could be one of the most sought after tours this spring.

Photo courtesy of Rutherford Photography

Beartooth

A broken nose outside and blood already in the urinal, and this is only three minutes into Beartooth's set. Working through all the viscious aggression of last years EP "Sick", they capitalise on the excitement of the crowd with their punishing and chaotic metallic hardcore. Frontman Caleb Shomo's mannerisms and skill reflect his experience from working in Attack Attack! He makes use of every inch of the stage and controls the crowd with extreme ease. And while they blast through their delivery of chaos, it's songs like single "I Have A Problem" and Shomo's unconventional use of his clean vocals that give the music that edge. See also "Pick Your Poison", where the sung vocals come across with a melodic hardcore edge as the band never lets the tempo drop. The set comes to close with "Dead"- a song Shomo describes as "two minutes of chaos" - and indeed he is right, as people fly into each other and no one lets Beartooth go out with anything less than a bang.

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Issues

After a nice warm up play list of singer-songwriter songs slowly transitioning into the American emo of Circa Survive et al, burst forward Issues, the band tipped to burst metalcore out into the mainstream with their catchy and clean fusion of nu-metal, pop punk and contemporary R&B. As they open with the hit single "Stingray Affliction" and the crowd spontaneously erupts with pent up energy it's almost as if there as many fans at this gig that are here for Issues as there are for Of Mice & Men. But it isn't hard to be lost in a set like Issues as it is practically a solid 30 minutes of one chord breakdowns. A strong highlight is the top 40 sound of "Never Lose Your Flame" and its awesome chorus, and playing through older classic and Woe, Is Me feud song "King Of Amarillo" and the anthem of broken homes "The Settlement". But it isn't until the final song "Hooligans" that they really change what is a largely static performance.

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Of Mice & Men

No time is wasted as the headline act Of Mice & Men walk on stage, no long introductions, no talking, just singer Austin Carlile giving the screamed monologue of "Public Service Announcement" before the band drops into an insane breakdown. Austin's carries the confident demeanour of any rock star, his professional commanding of the crowd in how they should pulverise each other to a pulp tonight is on full. Just as is his and the band's performance, from song one they chaotically make use of space, get the crowd moving and show real professionalism.

It seems the crowd is far more reactant to the songs off their third and newest album "Restoring Force", when introducing and performing older songs like "Let Live", "Still YDG'n" and "Second & Sebring" the crowd is far less involved and just moshing. But this is polarised instantly by the ballad-like interplay of the dynamic "Another You" which really connects with the audience as this sweaty and dense room is filled with singing. The encore reserves their biggest for last, as they blast through "The Depths" and "You're Not Alone". The experience as a whole was great, but with plenty of rage being exhumed and released by the crowd, one could think that the performances tonight were slightly overshadowed by the high anticipation of the audience.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Public Service Announcement
  • 2. The Flood
  • 3. O.G. Loko
  • 4. Let Live
  • 5. Feels Like Forever
  • 6. Bones Exposed
  • 7. Would You Still Be There
  • 8. Still YDG'n
  • 9. Another You
  • 10. Second & Sebring

- Encore

  • 11. Glass Hearts
  • 12. The Depths
  • 13. You're Not Alone

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