On this rainy tuesday night, many of the metalcore kids around Belgium gathered in the capital city for a juicy show. Of Mice And Men were in town and they brought along Australia’s beloved The Amity Affliction and their fellow countrymen Volumes. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to watch Volumes perform.
When we arrived, The Amity Affliction were about to get on stage. This band has everything that makes people love post-hardcore, the power, the riffs, the several breakdowns and an agressive and catchy sound. It has the strength and the softness, in the image of the two vocalists, Joel Birch and Ahren Stringer, that responded to each other perfectly. The band seemed as comfortable on this stage as they were at Jc De Klinker in Aarschot a few months ago, when they headlined their own tour, and they can still remember when they played for handful of fans in Edegem two years ago. The growth of the band has been quick and it looks like they’re standing on a steady ground right now with a great number of devoted fans. We were treated with a passionate performance, and all the moments where the fans were left to sing felt solennel. We also witnessed a massive crowd participation, beyond the singing parts, the mosh pits and the wall of deaths kept going. The enthusiasm is obviously high when it come to these aussies, and we can’t help but feel that the room was filled with as much The Amity Affliction fans as Of mice’s. With a 9 songs setlist, and playing most of the songs from their latest release, ‘Let The Ocean Take Me’ (Pittsburgh, The Weigh Down, Don’t Lean On Me), the band left us craving for more and prepared for a next time. The only negative point of the set is the lousiness of the sound (we’re used to much better in this specific venue).
With each Of Mice and Men‘s come back in the capital city, the venues are getting bigger and bigger, and this time it’s in the largest venue of the Ancienne Belgique that they’re performing.
As it became a tradition since their last tour, the band launched the festivities with Public Service Announcement, which immediately set the tone for the rest of the set and put everyone on their feet. Their latest record ‘Restoring Force’, released through Rise Records, combined to their tour with the almighty Linkin Park, has pushed the band to the next level, and made their name one that you can’t ignore in the metalcore scene nowadays. You could definitely see that the band has matured and the improvement is tangible on stage. Unfortunately, the sound was still not on point and we were a bit struggling not to lose focus. The rest of the crowd, on the other hand, didn’t seem much bothered by this technical aspect and apparently nothing could have stopped the fans from leaving their hearts out in this venue. It was a complete two way relationship, as the fans were proving how devoted they were, the band tried its best to give their all. Austin was perfectly filling his leader and frontman task, even though he seemed to be laking of small talk with the audience. Tino’s drum work was remarkable, as for the strings, everything appeared to be on point, as usual.
Most of the songs on their setlist were taken from ‘Restoring Force’, a thing that some might have appreciated while it probably didn’t please others. Among older songs, the band performed O.G. Loko, Let Live, and of course, Second And Sebring, which can’t be overlooked. For those who were nostalgic of a time when neither Austin Carlile, nor Aaron Pauley were in the band, they offered some long time forgotten songs, This One’s For You and The Ballad of Tommy Clayton and the Rawdawg Millionaire. The band came back on stage after a few minutes to close on The Depths and finally You’re Not Alone, on which the crowd gave its last efforts on yelling and singing.
In the end, we did have a good time watching Of Mice And Men once again but we have to admit that we missed some of the closeness and the warmth they were bringing out when playing smaller venues.