Throngs of surprisingly punctual fans arrived on time at Revolution Live to see Of Mice & Men. The crowd ranged from 13-year-olds to folks over 40, and there was a level of intensity already marinating in the air (along with a swell of other undesirable odors) as fans eagerly awaited the start of the show.
Consisting of lead vocalist Austin Carlisle, guitarists Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala, bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley, and drummer Valentino Arteaga, the band came to Revolution on Tuesday night fresh off its European tour.
The night's opening act was the Los Angeles band Volumes. The group started the show with a pulsating heartbeat sound effect, though the incessant screams from both vocalists quickly became overbearing. However, Crown the Empire featured more variety in its songs. The band's singer/screamer David Escamilla delivered great range and worked nicely paired with fellow vocalist Andy Leo's mix of clean and scream.
Of Mice & Men took the stage accompanied by a recording of its song "Public Service Announcement." As the rest of the band filled onto the stage, charismatic frontman Austin Carlisle told the crowd to "put your phones down and pick up your feet!" Of Mice & Men then proceeded to rock, pounding mercilessly through throbbing guitar riffs and punctuated percussion that never relented. Carlisle and co-vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley have great chemistry. They each had time to showcase their own vocal talents, as well as some quality time to sing/scream together.
Carlisle, especially, was very dynamic, alternating highs and belting lows in split seconds of each other. His eyes gazed through the mosh pit(s), eyeing everyone, as if silently commanding them to fuck shit up. As the lead singer stood on one of the three metal benches across the stage, splashes of purple and orange lights flickered behind him. He and his black-clothed brethren launched into "Feels Like Forever," and crowd participation was all but mandatory. At this point, you can hear how powerful (and maybe overpowering) the band's vocals are. Vocals and drums are the catalyst for Of Mice & Men and most posthardcore music.
When live, the guitars don't feel as significant, but the pure energy and technical prowess from Of Mice & Men compensate for it. Other tracks like "Identity Disorder" and "Another You" stood out in the group's set. The latter song, with lyrics about losing someone significant, was sonically the most interesting as the words matched perfectly with the soft and loud ebb and flow of the music.
For the encore, Carlisle instructed the audience to do something uncommon for a rock crowd to do: sit. Everyone charged up energy before he screamed into the mic for "The Depths." In unison, a massive wave exploded up onto their feet, fist-pumping and head-banging all through to the final song, "You're Not Alone." Guitarist Manansala took photos with fans once the show was over, and when New Times asked him to describe the show in one word, he replied, "Rambunctious." And although most 20-somethings would never use that word, it describes the night accurately.
The show was a wild, uncontrollably rowdy affair in which multiple generations came together to bang heads and throw elbows. With their cell phones tightly locked away in pockets, those whippersnappers sure knew how to rock. And it warmed one's hardcore heart to see how many parents joined their children at the show.
Every child and parent sweated, pumped fists, and yelled together. That's just good parenting.
1. Public Service Announcement
2. Glass Hearts
3. Broken Generation
4. OG Loko
5. Let Live
6. You Make Me Sick
7. This One's for You
8. Feels Like Forever
9. Bones Exposed
10. Would You Still Be There
11. Never Giving Up
12. Identity Disorder
13. Another You
14. Second & Sebring
15. The Depths
16. You're Not Alone