Despite Of Mice And Men having to cut the set short due to lead singer Austin Carlisle’s condition, this was still an amazing show. Both Crown The Empire and Hands Like Houses had the crowd dancing, singing and screaming like a headline band would. The Pyramid Centre itself was lovely, filled with brilliant staff (including everyone’s favourite dancing security guard). I can’t wait to see these acts again and to attend more shows at the Pyramid Centre.
Hands Like Houses were first on stage and were possibly my favourite of the night. I’ve been in love with this band for a while and this was my first time seeing them live – and it was better than expected. They’ve spoken in the past about challenging expectations and all mine were shattered here, I was completely absorbed in the performance.
Their short set was nothing more than an appetiser, leaving me desperate for more from the Australian band. We saw a mix of old and new songs, focusing on songs from their most recent album ‘Dissonance’ but featuring fan favourites from ‘Unimagine’.
We were lucky enough to grab their guitarist Alexander after the show for a quick picture and autograph, and also had a lovely little chat with their merch guy (who was able to convince me to part from a fair amount of money). After wearing the Hands Like Houses t-shirt for a few days, I can tell you that it’s the most comfortable shirt I own. I can’t wait to put in another order, because if it were up to me I’d never take this one off.
Label mates Crown The Empire had the crowd eating out of their hands, their almost theatrical sound mixed with breakdowns and mosh pits created a fabulous and inescapable energy. It was physically impossible not to bounce when told and to not smile whilst doing so. Crown The Empire are one of the most interesting bands in metalcore at the moment, with lyrics exploring fantasy themes, which emulates that of My Chemical Romance.
The band did not disappoint in their performance, jumping from clean vocals to hearty screams in a matter of seconds and using the crowd to fill in the chorus on the odd moments they took a second break. The set featured songs from their third album ‘Retrograde’, these songs were made for the stage and in their live performance came to life.
Headliners, Of Mice and Men have a sound that can’t be contained, too big for the relatively small venue we were in. Heavy guitars and relentless drumming vibrated through the floor and had people moshing and jumping wildly from the very first song. They opened with ‘Pain’, one of the more iconic songs from their latest album ‘Cold World’. The heavy riff was a sign of what’s to come, an immediate statement that they’re still the heavy metal band fans know and love.
Though it was difficult to see at points, and the dynamic performance from the band made it more difficult to catch sight of the elusive singer, occasionally I’d catch a glimpse of golden hair in flashing lights through the throngs of jumping people. The set was filled with hits, a reminder of the success this band has earned, as well as featuring fan favourites that had friends sharing looks of glee. ‘Feels Like Forever’ and ‘Would You Still Be There’ were iconic hits which brought a sense of nostalgia and united the crowd.
Again, it was sad to see the set getting cut short – but of course I have nothing but love and support for Austin and the band, and wish him a speedy recovery. His battle with Marfan Syndrome is a difficult one, which makes going on tour draining for him and leaving him susceptible to illness, but it is also one that heavily influences their music. Without those struggles, we’d have witnessed a performance from a very different band.
I highly recommend trying to see all of these bands, Of Mice And Men are destined to fill stadiums with their loud and demanding anthems. Both, Hands Like Houses and Crown The Empire are similarly deserving of bigger venues, look out for new music and tour dates from all these bands – you won’t want to miss them next time.