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Of Mice and Men review: The band undoubtedly put on a solid show

PUBLISHED: 16:56 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 27 April 2018

Of Mice and Men headlining The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

Of Mice and Men headlining The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

Sam Dawes

Of Mice and Men brought their ‘Defy’ tour to The Waterfront last night after returning from extensively touring the United States after the recent release of their fifth studio album ‘Defy’ in Janaury.

Sylar supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesSylar supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

This is the first album without former front man Austin Carlile who had to leave the band due to injuries to his spine leaving him unable to scream. This lead to the band releasing ‘Unbreakable’ and continuing with their latest album, sadly without Carlisle.

First up for the evening was New York residents Sylar with their first ever appearance at the Waterfront. From the get go they didn’t hold back with strobe lighting going off every five seconds, matching every riff and breakdown the band come out with.

Although relatively unknown on this side of the pond, this band was tight and clearly on the same page, especially when bassist Travis Hufton muted drummer Cody Ash’s cymbal at the perfect time, confirming that these guys are certainly all on the same wavelength.

Sylar supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesSylar supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

It’s a shame that The Waterfront stage isn’t overly spacious, but lead singer Jayden Panesso didn’t let this stop him from moving around every inch that he could, combining his mix of heavy vocals and rap, getting the crowd to jump in time.

Sometimes crowds don’t quite react in the way the support act would hope straight away, so when the band were about to kick in to their next song, they gradually came to a holt, somewhat unsatisfied with how many people were jumping along. Once they kick started again, the majority of the crowd reacted, serving as a good warm up for Wage War to take to the stage next.

Next up were Floridians, Wage War, erupting onto the stage and bringing their heavy vocals and relentless guitar riffs that got everyone head banging from the first breakdown to the last.

Wage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesWage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

The band were given plenty of time to make their mark on the evening, showing off the best they had to offer from last year’s release ‘Deadweight’.

Their set perfectly showed off the variety that they have as a band from songs such as ‘Alive’ and ‘The River’, in which lead singer Briton Bond demanded a circle pit to form, to some of their slower songs such as ‘Gravity’.

‘Gravity’ saw a lot of the crowd singing along to the chorus along with rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist Cody Quistad who took the lead vocals on this track.

Wage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesWage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

Finally it was time for headline act Of Mice & Men who sprung straight into their performance with the song that named the album and the tour ‘Defy’ with lead singer and bassist Aaron Pauley announcing ‘Welcome to the Defy Tour!’.

The band soon went on from the anthemic ‘Defy’ to the more extreme side of Of Mice and Men in ‘Warzone’ with mosh pits breaking out throughout the room and crowd surfers making it over the barrier making sure they shook guitarist Phil Manansala’s hand before making their way back to the crowd.

Despite the heavy display, one slight downside for me were the constant pauses throughout their set as most of the band departed from the stage to change guitars whilst atmospheric music played over the speakers.

Wage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesWage War supporting Of Mice and Men at The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

This disrupted the flow from one song to another, with every pause seemingly lasting a little longer, which lead drummer Valentino Arteaga to do a little drum solo to keep the crowd pumped.

I’m not sure if this was due to the set up they had at the Waterfront or whether it was by design but it made the set feel somewhat disjointed.

Despite the occasional pause between songs which made their set feel on the shorter side the band undoubtedly put on a solid display. Lead singer Pauley ensured a circle pit formed after screaming he wanted ‘to see the room spin’.

Of Mice and Men headlining The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam DawesOf Mice and Men headlining The Waterfront in Norwich, 26th April 2018. Photo: Sam Dawes

I feel this may have been one of the smaller stages on their tour with not much up in terms of staging behind them, other then an array of big lights to accentuate their music, and the drum kit having lights built in which lit up in time with the music.

Nevertheless, the turn out they received certainly made up for the size of the venue with plenty of phones up in the air recording the action and the occasional fan bringing their record of ‘Defy’ in hope of getting it signed by their favorite band members.

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