Date: April 28th, 2012
Venue: Moho Live, Manchester
Support: With One Last Breath / Crossfaith / Bury Tomorrow
Website: None available
After several line-up changes and the return of the original vocalist, Austin Carlile, it would appear Of Mice & Men are ready to take on the world. Having toured the UK and Europe with Asking Alexandria in 2011, they have now embarked on a mammoth 39-date headliner tour spanning 8 European countries. The sold out Manchester show had kids impatiently queuing down the street, itching to cram themselves into the relatively small venue which would later become the world’s largest pressure cooker.
In typical metalcore fashion, a grandiose introduction of sampled drums and synth opens for With One Last Breath (***) where they explode into their first song. The set is dynamic in its sound, comprised of massive breakdowns, clean vocals injected into the choruses and the occasional guitar solo. Props have to be awarded to the band for their intensity, rarely giving the crowd time to breathe before kicking into another song. However, their relentless performance lacked individuality, once their formula for crowd pleasing became predictable.
Crossfaith (*****) were up next, again coming out to an intro this time with more of a techno feel. Instantly, the crowd are bouncing once the full band kick in. Heavy synth and dubstep samples cut through the massive pauses, creating the perfect party mood. Each member of Crossfaith took it in turns to assault the crowd with a stage show that military tacticians could have devised. Wave after wave they would throw themselves into the crowd, the singer Kenta Koie, hanging from the rafters. Things were really amped up when ‘Omen’, The Prodigy cover kicked in, the synth melody instantly recognisable. Crowd surfers literally tore down parts of the ceiling for what was one of the highlights of the night.
Just from their opening, it’s evident Bury Tomorrow (***) have an ample amount of followers amongst the crowd as they clap in unison, eagerly awaiting their entry to the stage. ‘Lionheart’, with its huge hooks and high energy, gets the crowd jumping, the die-hards relaying the lyrics back to singer Daniel Winter-Bates. However, long pauses between songs allow that level of excitement from the crowd to drop. Again and again, the atmosphere would build with the ferocity of the band, but it would never quite reach carnage. There were points where there was potential for something incredible to happen, but it just didn’t, leaving you with the feeling of being well and truly cock-teased.
It was left to Of Mice & Men (*****) to fully satisfy the crowd’s needs, and satisfy they certainly did. Perfectly executed build-ups and breakdowns plunged the crowd into audio nirvana. The band skilfully engineered a combination of beefy riffs with colossal choruses that smashed through the audience. The whole band looked as if they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. At one point during ‘Westbound And Down’, frontman Austin Carlile looks back at the drummer and laughs, complimenting the crowd’s participation. The lack of violence in the room was refreshing, everyone there simply wanting to have a good time. “One more song” chanted repeatedly by the crowd is testament to Of Mice & Men‘s performance, as well as proof that they’re now of headlining status.
Written by Jack Birch