Location: The Pyramids – Portsmouth
Support: Hands Like Houses, Crown The Empire
Of Mice & Men, from Orange County California, made their return to the UK in support of their new album Cold World last month. The heavy metal band looked on top form in the run up to their show at London’s Kentish Town Forum. The choice of support acts looked strong when Hands Like Houses came on stage. The catchy opening riffs of their track ‘I Am’ lifted the entire Pyramid to its feet. The guys found a balance between their popular old sound and new experimental tracks like ‘Colourblind’ which had hints of the synth/post – production work put into their new album Dissonants, which is out now on Rise Records. Closing with a classic like ‘Introduced Species’ was a nice touch. A nod to the purer, truer sound that we all know and love. (3/5 pugs)
Unfortunately, Crown the Empire failed to live up to expectations and left us scratching our heads as to why they followed Hands Like Houses. The band opened string with their new track ‘Are You Coming With Me’, from their new album Retrograde – but I’m afraid this was the only good point of their set. It was clunky, slow, and didn’t fit with the rest of the night. This could be because the majority of music played was from their latest album, but this does not excuse them from the political diatribe they enacted in the middle of their set. Sorry boys, I didn’t pay to have a debate about the upcoming presidential election or really care for it when I came to enjoy a night of good music. To then quickly brush over this stating “we are all here tonight in the name of music” doesn’t add up, does it? (2.5/5 pugs)
The moment we were all waiting for was greeted with ‘Mice & Men!’ chants from the crowd. Atmospherically, Of Mice & Men were incredible on the night. Even the unsettling opening riffs of ‘Pain’ (my least favourite track on their new album) was greeted with huge cheers and even grew on me. Paying respect to their previous albums was easy, with monsters like ‘Would You Still Be There’ and ‘Feels Like Forever’, it was inevitable that I would start singing sooner or later to the dismay of my flatmate. The balance between new and old was perfect. The synergy between the band was amazing and you could feel the passion emanating from the stage. But, this is where something started going wrong. As much as frontman Austin Carlile tried to hide it, we could tell he was hurting. This became extremely obvious during ‘The Flood’ when he collapsed (STILL SINGING) into a ball by the drum set and stayed there for the duration of the song. We had known Austin had been struggling with his condition Marfan’s Syndrome throughout the whole tour but I had no idea it was this bad. Seeing someone you really respect go down in pain with no explanation is rather unsettling. The bands crew quickly came out on stage and let us know the show wouldn’t continue which was greeted with a ‘we love you Austin’ chant from the crowd. I have to say I agree, we do hope you get better soon.
By Nelson Hylton
Pug-Rating: 4/5 pugs