Featured image and gallery: Ameena Ceesay
So-Cal band Of Mice & Men have spent the better part of a decade rising through the metalcore ranks. A couple months from the release of their 8th studio album, Tether, and as part of their UK and Europ…well, Germany tour, they grace the Rebellion stage and proceed to tear the house down.
Before that, Defects and Caskets face the sold out crowd, with Defects already confirmed for next year’s Download Festival. It’s unclear whether it’s down to technical issues, but while the instruments are on point, Tony Maue’s vocals suffer from a muffled sound. The group make up for it by starting a circle pit – a recurring theme of the night – and cajoling the audience to sway their phone torches in time to one of their songs.
Caskets follow with a similar presence and sound, although the vocals are much easier to pick out. The similarities aren’t a hindrance, and while they don’t bring about the same level of chaos, the crowd don’t care.
After a changeover full of cheesy pop tracks, Of Mice & Men emerge, kicking straight into opener, ‘Bones Exposed’. No theatrics. Just music.
Vocalist Aaron Pauley divides the set into two camps: “Sing-alongs” and “heavy shit”. Granted, a lot of the songs blend together, including the highlights of ‘Warpaint’ and ‘Obsolete’. As a general performance, it barely differs from the supports; a consequence that comes with the territory in metalcore. It ultimately doesn’t matter, given that it’s still exhilarating.
The small venue allows for everyone to be up close and personal with each other – from the crowd to the band. Pauley stokes this sense of unity asking how the crowd is doing and casually conversing with them. ‘Would You Still Be There?’ sees our second mosh pit of the evening, followed by drinks being splashed about and crowd surfing. Lots and lots of crowd surfing. By the time we get to the encore, ‘Second & Sebring’, even security gets in on the action.
It’s no wonder they’ve shared a stage with the likes of Slipknot and Metallica. If you’re looking to headbang with a like-minded crowd in an intimate setting, Of Mice & Men is the band for you.