With a third full-length album under their belts ‘Restoring Force’ and arguably their greatest offering to date, California’s Of Mice & Men have settled themselves securely with the safety of being one of the genre’s most prominent exports. A full sold out headline tour of the UK, if nothing else, affirms the huge success of their new record, and have brought over two support acts who are well on their way to follow suit.
Openers Beartooth (***) only have one 4-track EP under their belts, but the way they take control of the stage and command the crowd would make you think very different. Frontman Caleb Shomo has really improved since his last appearance in the UK in his former band, Attack Attack!, both vocally and his ownership of the crowd. Through songs like ‘I Have A Problem’ and ‘Pick Your Poison’, he incites the first pits of the night early on, and axe-man Kam Bradbury even jumps in there for a quick crowdsurfing session.
Tagged by some as R&Bcore, post-hardcore superstars in the making Issues (****) look set to be the next big name in the scene, and with sleek pop hooks and heavy grooves with chunk riff work delivered in equal measure, it’s easy to see why. Through ‘Princeton Ave’ and ‘Hooligans’, to name but a few moments of the band’s set, Tyler Carter‘s cleans are as perfect as they are on record, and strangely marry well with Mike Bohn‘s demonic roars. They’re almost already grasping onto embarking on headline tour of this magnitude themselves. Don’t be too surprised if that comes about sooner than you’d expect.
The room has reached truly high temperatures come the time that Of Mice & Men (****) finally take to the stage, and from the moment they burst into ‘Public Service Announcement’ it only continues to climb. Now on a much bigger stage than their last visit to Manchester at NQ Live, the Californians have really developed and sound pretty huge, and the crowd’s voices singing back to ‘Let Live’ and ‘Second & Seabring’, along with a huge wall of death during ‘Bones Exposed’. Austin Carlile‘s scream sound as manic as ever and the cleans from bassist Aaron Pauley really help the hooks of ‘Another You’ and ‘Feels Like Forever’ soar throughout the room.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)