“Let’s have some fun!” Austin Carlile, polarizing frontman of hardcore band Of Mice and Men, screamed.
The sold-out crowd responded in kind, yelling lyrics and moving with the frenetic breakdowns the band played over the course of the evening in Mesa on Sunday.
The night started with metalcore band Capture the Crown, who wasted no time in creating the night’s first wall of death, a move where the crowd is split in half and the two halves rush at each other when a certain part of the song is reached. Capture the Crown certainly got the audience energized for the rest of the bands.
Volumes hurried on stage next. With two screamers and no clean vocals, the band kept the noise levels high and the breakdowns heavy. Circle and mosh pits abounded for the duration of the set. The highlight came at the end when both vocalists called for the entire audience to crowd surf up to the stage and join them for the last song. This created problems for the irate security staff as the fans responded by launching themselves to the front of the venue. Even both vocalists jumped from the stage to the enthusiastic response of the fans.
The lull in the evening came with hardcore outfit Texas in July. While the band was clearly very talented, the heavier nature of the music caused some apparent boredom in sections of the audience. However, the crazy energy of the guitarist, along with the band’s call for even more crowd surfing and mosh pits, brought the crowd back to life to close out the set.
The anticipation built with the entrance of the new lineup of Woe, Is Me. After the departure of clean vocalist Tyler Carter, the band brought in Hance Alligood to take over the singing, backed by Doriano Magliano’s growling scream. Alligood’s range and vocal power definitely impressed the fans as the band powered through songs from its new album, “Genesi(s),” as well as Carter-era songs. The band surprised the delighted crowd with a heavy cover of Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R.”
Noise levels only increased when the massively popular Of Mice and Men took the stage. Screamer Carlile prowled the stage, growling and screaming the lyrics at the fans, who responded in kind. The packed venue surged with the music while mosh and circle pits never stopped throughout the set. Like the previous bands, Carlile encouraged the crowd surfers who eagerly threw themselves toward the stage in the hopes of touching the singer.
Carlile was clearly having the time of his life, smiling widely at the fan response to the set list and the enthusiasm of the crowd surfers and moshers. The band played through all four of the tracks on the re-release of their most recent album, and included a fan favorite called “The Great Hendowski.”
The jaw-dropping and unforgettable moment of the evening came toward the end of the band’s set. Carlile called for the entire audience, including staff, to drop to the ground.
“Nobody moves until I say so!” Carlile screamed. With the entire venue crouching, waiting, the band powered into an extremely heavy breakdown and the venue shook with the force of the entire audience jumping manically to the beat. It was an impressive feat by the polarizing singer that had the more enthusiastic fans raving after the show came to a close.
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