Of Mice & Men @ Rock City, 02/04/2015

Opening lines are often incredibly hard, first impressions count and as the opening act you really want to pump up the crowd. The Volumes hit the spot perfectly with a simple and geographically aware “come on Birmingham…”  They went on to personally guarantee us this would be one of the best nights of our lives… And in some jammy stroke of luck, we didn’t need to catch the last train to Birmingham. It was happening here, in Nottingham.

To keep this short and sweet the two support acts both provided the crowd with good sets, Volumes warmed up the early birds well and didn’t disappoint. The Amity Affliction followed, however the seasoned rock veteran to my left judged the vocals rather harshly “they had no depth”, which in my opinion just meant the lyrics were more audible than usual. They seem to have all the ingredients for the making of a brilliant band just somehow ended up in the wrong genre. ‘Chasing Ghosts’ shows the cleaner side of vocals dominating giving an almost Fall Out Boy sounding collaboration. To be honest the screaming (unclean vocals) seemed more of add-on to the performance, it kept the crowd happy but at the cost of the masking talent and potential of the rest of the band.

Of Mice & Men’s third and latest album, ‘Restoring Force’:


Lit up by electric flashes the main act ‘dramatically’ strode on. Describing themselves as simply a bunch of guys from Orange County California, looking slightly rough around the edges after a couple months of touring. To my surprise I ended up doing a double take with one of the guitarist, he was a spitting image of a young Jack Black; however, with the odd vocal sound of a castrated choir boy.

The lead Austin Carlile controlled the crowd like a deranged puppet master, at one point getting the entire lower level crowd to crouch down and on his cue explode into the next song.  ‘Identity Disorder’, ‘O.G.Loko’, ‘Abandon All Ships’, the band just kept the crowd of “Not-in-ham” (tricky word to say with a thick American accent) pulsating with a sound which felt similar to putting your ear on a bus window, the kind of sensation that reverberates though your skull and leaves you feeling slightly warm and tingly.

After we got through the usual mid-set sentiments “you guys are the best crowd of our lives” etc… Of Mice & Men played us right up to the 10pm curfew.  A generally good gig, it hit all the right spots but just seemed a tad generic, lacking that special something that makes a night memorable. At the end of the day it was another gig where you can’t tell if the guy next to you is really enjoying himself or has just punched you in the face.

By Ryan Boultbee



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