Review: Of Mice & Men, Nottingham Rock City

Last night was a first for me: I’ve never been to a gig at Nottingham’s Rock City, and I really enjoyed myself.  It’s a really nice venue and so well laid out too: even stood at the back next to the sound pit, I still had a perfect view of the stage thanks to the step down in front of us.  My poor old camera isn’t really suited to taking pictures at gigs, but here are the best pictures I took last night:

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First up on the line-up was Volumes, and unfortunately due to having to queue for the box office we missed most of their set.  I thought it was a bit strange that they started playing so early, as doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and their set was finished by about 7:10 p.m., but maybe there was an early curfew last night.  Their performance was pretty good, even if their vocals aren’t to my taste.  I haven’t seen a crowd as excited for support acts as they were for Volumes and The Amity Affliction, who came next.  Here’s Wormholes, one of the better tracks they played last night.

Next was The Amity Affliction, who put on an awesome show.  Their performance was spot-on and they also got the crowd extremely excited.  I especially like the mixture of Ahren and Joel’s vocals, plus drummer Ryan was on point and enthusiastic throughout the set.  This is Don’t Lean On Me, the track they closed their set with.

Then Of Mice & Men took to the stage.  I was more excited to see them than usual, considering this will be my third time watching the Orange County quintet perform live.  They’re now the band I’ve seen live more than any other, and Of Mice & Men definitely deserve that honour.

This was the first time I’ve seen them headline a gig: the past two times I saw them live, they played at Leeds Festival and in support of Linkin Park at the O2.  You could definitely tell that it was their headline tour, because the entire band was full of swagger and attitude walking on stage.

As per usual, their performance was fantastic.  Their setlist had a good mixture of songs from not only their latest album and its re-issue, Restoring Force and Restoring Force: Full Circle, but from their first two albums as well.  I was really excited that they played O.G. Loko, Let Live and Second & Sebring, as well as including The Depths in the encore.  It was clear to see how excited Of Mice & Men were to be on stage, and the crowd responded with boundless excitement.

Aaron’s vocals were a little wobbly at points, which is something I’ve noticed every time we’ve seen him perform live.  This didn’t detract from the overall performance, but the night would have been improved if he didn’t have to battle quite so hard to be heard over the guitars, drums, and Austin’s vocals.  As it turns out, the crowd were singing on loudly enough to make up for Aaron’s lack of volume.

It’s a shame that Of Mice & Men probably won’t be returning to UK shores until next year, as I would love to see them live again.  It was obvious that the band really enjoyed their performance last night.  Every time I listen to Restoring Force I’ll think of last night’s gig – it was unforgettable.

Currently listening to: Hit The WaveMarmozets

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Radio 1 Rock Week: Three exclusive gigs, three explosive line-ups

First of all, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the NCTJ for scheduling my exams on the same days as Radio 1 Rock Week.  No, really, you shouldn’t have.

Second, how exciting does this line-up look?  The Radio 1 Rock Week has a great reputation for creating awesome live gigs – last year, for instance, included great acts such as Enter Shikari, Frank Turner, Mallory Knox and Don Broco.

This year the annual celebration of rock music takes place over three nights, with three acts playing an exclusive set per night.  The line-up is as follows:

Monday 9 June:

  • Of Mice & Men
  • Architects
  • Bury Tomorrow

Tuesday 10 June:

  • Lower Than Atlantis
  • Mallory Knox
  • Marmozets

Wednesday 11 June:

  • Lonely The Brave
  • Wolf Alice
  • Slaves

Personally, I like the look of Monday’s line-up best – Of Mice & Men are one of my favourite bands at the moment.  However, Mallory Knox are returning to Rock Week for the second year in a row, which just goes to show how awesome they are to have beem given the honour again.  Plus, Lower Than Atlantis’s new single is awesome, and I’d love to hear it live.

The worst thing about these gigs is that there are only 60 pairs of tickets up for grabs at each event.  That means only 120 people will be able to witness these awesome nights, and because of my exams I won’t be one of them.  Sad face.

Thankfully all three gigs will be broadcast live from the legendary Maida Vale studios on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, so I can listen along in my bedroom whilst pretending to revise.

If you’re lucky enough to be available during the Radio 1 Rock Week, there’s still time to apply for tickets!  More information can be found here.

Currently listening to: Closer To The Edge30 Seconds To Mars

R&L: the latest line-up news fails to disappoint

So, a bit earlier on Reading and Leeds added 50 new acts to this year’s festival line-up, taking place from the 22nd to 24th of August.

Probably the most exciting announcement was the addition of Gerard Way, performing his first ever solo UK show, following the demise of My Chemical Romance, the band he fronted until March 2013.  I was a big fan of My Chem for a long time, so seeing activity from its former band members is super exciting!  I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what he’s come up with in the year since they broke up.

He’ll be playing on the NME/Radio 1 stage alongside one of my favourite vocalists, Maverick Sabre.  Now I know he’s not particularly rock ‘n’ roll, but you’ve gotta appreciate his beautiful voice.  La Dispute are also playing the same stage, and considering their popularity online (especially on Tumblr and Twitter) they have a lot to live up to.

The Lock Up Stage will also be benefiting from the addition of We Came As Romans, following the release of their album Tracing Back Roots last year.

I’m also excited to hear We Are Scientists perform on the Festival Republic Stage – Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt and Lethal Enforcer are awesome songs, and it would make my day if they played them.

All in all, the R&L line-up is still looking as strong as ever.  Nothing they could do could make me regret buying my ticket now.

Currently listening to: In The NightYoung Guns

 

Review: Pure Love, Lincoln Engine Rooms

I think I can speak for most Pure Love fans when I say I did not want this tour to happen.  Last night was the opening night of the band’s farewell tour, before going on “indefinite hiatus“.  The band’s first and only album, Anthems, has seen massive popularity since its release in 2013, as well as cult popularity thanks to the band’s presence on Twitter and Instagram.

Unfortunately, the band’s fate is sealed, and all that was left was to see them on their farewell tour, and have an amazing time.  (Spoiler: I had a seriously amazing time.)

Now I, personally, would have loved to see We Are The Ocean as the support act, as I saw them play with Pure Love in support of Lostprophets in 2012.  Well, that’s the line-up I imagined in my dreams anyway.

However, in reality the night started with PUP.  These guys were a lot of fun to listen to, but I didn’t think much of their lead vocalist.  Also, they’re a lot heavier than Pure Love, so they probably would have been better suited to support a heavier band.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery pretty quickly, so I only have one photo of their performance, and it’s a little blurry.

A photo of PUP supporting Pure Love at the Lincoln Engine Shed.

And then, on to Pure Love.  These guys were phenomenal.  Their live performance was polished and well-rehearsed, and Frank’s vocals were spot-on throughout the performance.

Performance is the only word I could use to describe this show.  The show was electric, and I think Frank and Jim spent more time in the crowd than on the stage itself.  They were literally hanging from the rafters of the venue at one point, only a couple of feet from where I was stood, which was an awesome sight to see.

During their final song, Riot Song, the entire band moved their kit from the stage to the middle of the crowd, making the performance even more intimate and getting even the most reluctant members of the crowd jumping.

All in all, last night was a concert I’ll probably never forget.  Their last gig was a perfect farewell from a brilliant, if short-lived band.I guarantee that if Pure Love ever get back together, I’ll be buying tickets to their next tour as soon as they go on sale.

Currently listening to: Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana