OF MICE AND MEN with support from WAGE WAR / SYLAR - O2 ABC, Glasgow 22.04.18

CHRIS STONES

(PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOGRAPHY SCOTLAND)

 

The O2 ABC in Glasgow’s west end is looking grim tonight as the entire street has been dug up for traffic works. Pedestrian barriers and building materials stretch across the roadway in front of the venue making access a challenge for those who have decided on a light aperitif before tonight’s show.

 

Temporary access issues overcome and entrance gained, the DTF team are warmly greeted by the venue team who have become old friends such is the frequency of gigs covered in recent months. Welcomes aside, the ABC is one of the larger halls in the city and is the go-to venue for bands avoiding the cavernous arenas just along the road. Tonight, the venue isn’t full but a healthy, energetic crowd arrives early for the first of the three bands playing tonight.

 

Sylar blend metal core and hardcore with hip-hop influences to produce a frantic tight and almost industrial sound. There is no soft start to their show as frontman Panesso delivers an atomic performance, moving across the stage and engaging the crowd before him. Acknowledging this is their first show ever in Scotland, there is a modesty in the band that is completely at odds with the confidence of their performance.

 

The line up of Jayden Panesso (Vocals), Dustin Jennings (Guitar), Miguel Cardona (Guitar/Vocals), Travis Hufton (Bass) and Thomas Veroutis (Drums) is strong and tight. The interaction between the band members is good to see as artists enjoying what they do pours from a stage and lifts an audience. Such a moment raises smiles as bass player Hufton chokes Veroutis’ cymbal perfectly in time with the song and creates an even tighter sound if that is possible.

 

The performance of ‘Dark Daze’ from the album ‘Help’ shows they are assured in both their material and their ability to deliver the payload. The track features alternating dirty and clean vocals and a Linkin Park breakdown that gives space to the lyrics whilst making the powerful passages gain even more gravity when they are unleashed.

 

The New York City outfit have built a solid fanbase over their six year career and the polished edge to their output is surely going to see their profile grow further. Closing track ‘Golden Retreat’ from the ‘To Whom it May Concern’ album is a fitting end to a seismic performance. The track is carried along by Veroutis’ double kick, staccato drumming and the frantic pace is given a doom-laden sense of terror by the vocal delivery and gated guitar parts.

 

Sylar seemed to have a point to make and they achieved their objective in nuclear proportions. My initial thoughts are that the roadworks outside would probably have been required after this performance and lady luck has surely shone on Glasgow City Council.

 

You can find out more about Sylar at the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/SylarNY/
http://sylarny.com/
@SYLARNY

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT FROM DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO INFO@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

The highlight of the night for this reviewer was undoubtedly second support act Wage War. The Orange County metal core vendors have a busy touring year ahead that will take them across the UK before heading back across the pond for a multiple date US tour.

 

Following the release of second album ‘Deadweight’, Briton Bond (unclean vocals), Seth Blake (lead guitar, backing vocals), Cody Quistad (rhythm guitar, clean vocals), Chris Gaylord (bass, backing vocals) and Stephen Kluesener (drums) have grown in stature and confidence as a unit. With two well received albums under their belt, they are a force to be reckoned with and the crowd are notably excited as the stage is prepped for their arrival.

 

Opening track ‘Alive’ from debut album ‘Blueprints’ pulls the pin from a sonic grenade that is thrown with venom into the crowd. This opening salvo has the desired effect, sending the hardcore punters into a circle pit almost instantly. The sight of a crowd spinning, jolting and clashing in this venue is always a bizarre experience given it all happens below a massive glitter ball. Irony yes. Disco this is not.

 

Title track from the new album ‘Deadweight’ is yet another brutal track with no subtlety in its content as Bond orders his crowd “Bang your head Glasgow”. This approach is not the norm in the material however as the band often choose to contrast Bond’s dirty vocals with Quistad’s sublime clean delivery. This is heard in ‘Gravity’ where the style favours melody rather than the punch in the face feel of other tracks. The vocal counterpoints ensure there is power and passion lurking behind the lyrics. As metaphors go, it’s much like receiving a kiss on the cheek and a knife in the ribs.

 

Bond references the bands broad influences spanning everything from country to metal and penultimate track ‘Johnny Cash’ speaks for itself in this regard. This isn’t a country song but relates to the songs the great man wrote. Unusually in the metal core genre, this is a beautifully written love song full of sadness but delivered with the power Wage War are so capable of.

 

Wage War don’t allow the energy and dynamic drop as they reach their final track ‘Stitch’. The circle pit opens and Bond drives the crowd hard with this full on track that features trademark tempo changes and true metal passages. Exhausted teenagers are thrown from the centre into waiting arms before launching themselves back into the fray. This has been a momentous performance, played expertly and with a vigour that many bands must surely aspire to.

 

Set List:

Alive

The River

Witness

Deadweight

Twenty One

Never Enough

Gravity

Don’t Let Me Fade Away

Johnny Cash

Stitch

 

Find out more from Wage War at the following links:
https://www.facebook.com/wagewar/
http://wagewarband.com/

@WageWar

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO INFO@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

Californian metal core antiheroes Of Mice and Men enjoy a significant global popularity that is driven by their mutual fan respect and apparent will to survive despite the loss of original vocalist and founding father - Austin Carlile (on health grounds among other reasons).

 

The current line up of Aaron Pauley (Bass/Vocals), Valentino Arteaga (Drums), Philip Manansala (Guitar) and Alan Ashby (Guitar) are currently riding a wave following the release of new album ‘Defy’ - released in January 2018. The album is more than metal core and genre-ologists will hear other styles woven through the new material that give the band an originality that is difficult to define.

 

The band have a fulfilling year ahead that will see them leave the UK and fill a support slot with Bullet For My Valentine across Europe before returning for two shows in London and Cardiff at the end of the year.

 

Tonight however, the Glasgow faithful have already witnessed two solid performances and the prospect of a third is mouth watering especially given the quality of what has preceded the main act. The band enter the arena with broad grins forged from their new found optimism around a firm line up and a fantastic album on the shelves. Opening with that album’s title track ‘Defy’, the band are slick and potent with a firm delivery that hits the mark.

 

Pauley is a confident yet endearing frontman who works his crowd with the exclamation “Turn this place into a f**kin’ war zone!” as the band launch that very track from the new album. ‘Warzone’ is a fraught production that captures the subject matter with thunderous drumming by Arteaga who’s neon-lit see-through bass drums are mesmerising. Those very drums are commented on by a nearby wit who points out to his accomplice that they may have “fancy lights” but “they still have his mum’s pillows in them”. Only in Glasgow!

 

The band make much of their care for fans and they have gone above and beyond on many occasions to provide for those who have found solace in their music. This reviewer was fortunate to see two young teenage fans on the edge of the circle pit in heated debate as to whether they should enter the vortex. One did and left his friend behind - clearly nervous at the prospect of what was a formidable collection of flailing limbs. Moments later, the braver soul returned to wrap his arms around his buddy as they sang the chorus of ‘On The Inside’ together. The emotion in these two young fans was significant. Of Mice And Men clearly speak to people through their lyrics and touch them - in a way that’s almost at odds with the fury in much of the material.

 

Fifty percent of the set list comes from the new album but firm favourites from the bands broader catalogue like ‘Would You Still Be There’ are met with this crowd’s version of applause - a wall of death.

 

Final track ‘The Depths’ sees Pauley get the crowd down on the floor and he holds them there as the song builds to a frenzied roar of “Get Up!” which leads to an earthquake inducing mosh pit. The crowd has obviously managed to conserve some energy this late in the night as they writhe and career into each other in celebration of what they have experienced.

 

The testament to this performance is in the faces of the fans who stand catching their breath at the front of the stage in the hope of catching a plectrum or drum stick casually tossed to waiting hands. The crowd is slow to leave as friends are reunited having been separated in the melee and others discuss how great the show had been. Ushered from the room by amiable security staff, the rabble descend onto the street and those bloody barriers again!

 

Set List:

Defy

Warzone

Unbreakable

Would You Still Be There

You Make Me Sick

On The Inside

Pain

Bones Exposed

Instincts

YDGlogy

The Floods

The Depths

 

You can catch up with Of Mice and Men at the following links:
https://www.facebook.com/ofmice/

https://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com/

@OMandM

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO INFO@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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