Review: Of Mice & Men, Nottingham Rock City

Last night I went along to Nottingham and saw one of my favourite bands, Of Mice & Men, performing live for the fourth time.  I hadn’t planned on attending, however a last minute change to my work and my sister’s sixth form schedule meant we could take the trip to see the performance.  I didn’t manage to get any photos from the gig, but here’s a snap from the band’s Instagram account which will give you a taste of the atmosphere.

A photo posted by Of Mice & Men (@omandm) on Oct 4, 2016 at 12:13am PDT

We arrived to the venue a little late, so unfortunately we only heard opening act Hands Like Houses perform three songs of their set.  From what I heard, I really enjoyed their performance: the vocalist’s voice was strong throughout, and the instrumentals sounded pretty tight.  These guys were definitely a solid choice of opening act.  Here’s the video for one of the songs they played:

Following Hands Like Houses was Crown The Empire, whose performance I also really enjoyed.  There were a couple of issues with microphone levels throughout this set, however: during the first couple of songs the vocalist’s voice was drowned out by the instruments, and towards the end his microphone was too loud and the guitars were overpowered.  Even noticing this issue, I still thought Crown The Empire put on a great show, and they really helped to amp up the atmosphere in preparation for Of Mice & Men to take to the stage.  Here’s the music video to one of the songs I most enjoyed hearing them play:

Then it was time for the main act to take to the stage.  Of Mice & Men opened with Pain, one of my favourites from their new record Cold World, and it was a fantastic, high energy start to the gig.  They mainly played songs from the new record, which is understandable as it was only released a couple of weeks ago, as well as a fair few from Restoring Force.  I was extremely pleased when I realised that they were also playing The Calm, The Storm, The Flood and The Depths in succession, which definitely went down well with more long term fans of the band.  Their encore was topped off with Second & Sebring, was was probably my highlight of the whole night.

Overall the performance by Of Mice & Men was brilliant, as per usual, with no noticeable technical issues or dodgy microphone levels.  In the past I’ve consistently noted that Aaron Pauley’s vocals live were fairly weak and quiet, however even though he complained of waking up with a cold yesterday morning, I think his vocal performance was the best I’ve heard.  Maybe he was pushing his voice harder than usual to make up for his illness?  The only issue I found with the band’s performance was Austin Carlile’s clean vocals during Away: I thought his voice was quite nasal, and reckon he’d be better off sticking to harsh vocals from now on.

It was definitely worth seeing Of Mice & Men for the fourth time, as to me their performances are getting better and better every time.  If you’re able to attend any of the remaining UK tour dates this month, I’d highly recommend it.

Were you at the gig last night?  What did you think of the performance?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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