I’m actually going to deviate from the script a tad bit and tell you a story. We’ll get back to the conventional concert story-teller rhetoric in a minute. During the intermission before Of Mice & Men were due to play, I walked out and met a young fan who was sitting near the entrance by themselves. “Hey, are you a concert photographer?” as I think my Canon Rebel may have been a dead give away. From there, I spoke to the fan dawning her Of Mice & Men t-shirt. She had traveled two hours from Albany, took two buses and walked to get to Best Buy Theater to get to the Full Circle Tour show in New York. We talked a little bit more about Of Mice & Men in general and she specifically stated that the song “Feels Like Forever”, a song of their 2014 album, Restoring Force helped her through a lot of hard times especially because she’s a kid that just loves to go to shows. I hear a lot of these types of stories revolving around the band of some sort.
This wouldn’t feel right without including my fellow MEB comrade, Emma Guido, who is an absolute super fan in this review as she was attending this same show. Here’s what she had to say in regards to the band:
“The connection I made with Of Mice & Men during my freshman year of high school changed everything for me. Not only did their lyrics hit home and help me pull through a year of confusion and loneliness, but they introduced me to what it means to be passionate about something. As they grow into a major hard rock force in the music scene, I’m growing as an industry professional, at just 16 years old, and I couldn’t have done it without their musical influence along the way. All of the ups and downs I’ve faced have made me stronger because their message inspired me to learn from it rather than to let it defeat me. No matter where I go in the future, I know that Of Mice & Men contributes to my strength, and they always have a place in my heart”
I’ve actually had the privilege to see Of Mice & Men grow to the phenomenon they are now, from the first time I stumbled upon their 2010 self-titled album wondering where the hell Austin Carlile went to Skate And Surf Festival where the band played in the rain with a malfunctioning mic and sound. It was kind of fitting that the band toured with Linkin Park because I see a lot of parallels between both bands both generations of music. Let’s talk about the show, shall we?
The first band of the night was LA natives, Volumes. They played a short six song set with low lit lights that tried to accentuate the djent style songs like “Edge of The Earth” and “Wormholes”. I’d love to see the band play in a longer setting to get more sense of their music, but the crowd seemed to dig them early on.
The next band who I’ve had the pleasure and challenge to photograph for the second time this year was Crown The Empire. Both times I’ve seen them, it’s always been a highly energetic and fan engaging show. Packed with the one two punch of singers David Escamilla and Andrew “Andy Leo” Velasquez , the band tore through songs from The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways. I have to say that hearing “Initiation” live again sounded really well, which is one of my favorites. There was even a small medley of earlier tracks “Johnny Ringo” / “Johnny’s Revenge” / “Johnny’s Rebellion” that the older fans really reacted to. You have to figure that CTE will continue to get bigger as they continue on.
We got to the main event, Of Mice & Men, as they opened up with “Public Service Announcement”, which was a powerful declaration to open up their hour plus set. I’m not going to lie to you, it took me a little bit to catch on to the more melodic stylings of Restoring Force. There has always been that complete songwriting material within the band as a whole, but it came more to the surface with this record. Songs like “Feels Like Forever” and “Broken Generation” sounded akin to the studio version. Overall, it was a well-balanced concert set list. To appease the angrier OM&M fans like myself, you had songs like “O.G. Loko” and “The Depths”. For fans who looked for something a bit more easy, you had songs like “You’re Not Alone” and “Identity Disorder”. Hats off to them. With growth, Of Mice & Men are able to bridge the gap between their fans who are increasingly devoted to them. As singer Austin Carlile introduced each of his fellow band members, you felt a sense of triumph after six years of hard work. Perhaps if I go to another show, I’ll meet another fan willing to share their story.