Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018

Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018Of Mice & Men + Sylar + Wage War @ O2 Institute, 25 April 2018

Middle of the week, this Wednesday gig has given me something to look forward to, making this long week at work go faster. Always the best gigs are local, and having a quick listen to tonights bands on the way to Birmingham I knew I was in for a night of incredible songs and explosive performances.

First on were New York’s Sylar, blasting on stage with “Assume”, they meant business. With comparisons such as Emmure, the persona of front-man Jay Panesso brings an incredible atmosphere to start off tonight.  Leading a tight set throughout and working the crowd with his perfect blend of aggression and passion.  They definitely opened the night the right way!

We didn’t have to wait long before Wage War took to the stage, and what an entrance. Opening with Alive, the room quickly turned to chaos as the pits opened up within seconds. Vocalist Briton Bonds growls and screams were incredible, mixed with Cody Quistad’s clean vocals, you’d be mistaken to thinking these were just another Metalcore band.

It was clear everyone loved them, as soon as the songs finished the crowd was roaring with appreciation, cheers and applause. Ending their set with “Stitch” was just perfection. The mosh pit thrashed with new life. The whole band headbanged using their full bodies. Bond knelt as he headbanged, bowing his back as if he were praying to the gods of metal.

After a major blow to the lineup, with the departure of front-man Austin Carlile, the future for California metalcore outfit Of Mice & Men looked bleak. But with the recent release of “Defy”, it’s clear they haven’t let anything get to them and have been able to produce a quality album with some amazing tracks!

The crowd was pumped, as Wage War’s banner fell, leaving the beautiful album artwork of Of Mice & Men’s “Defy”. Lights went down, tensions were built. Breaking into the noise of their album titled “Defy” and the crowd were at it again. Clearly none of the potency or power has been lost on this album, with Aaron Pauley leading the night, both screams and clean vocals were on point. Everything was spot on as they smashed through song after song, “Warzone”, “Unbreakable”, and the crowd were in pure ecstasy.

“One is a circle pit. One is a shot of whiskey. Let’s go!” shouts Pauley before leading the way into “Instincts”, there’s nothing I can fault in tonights set, and neither can anyone else it seems. The atmosphere was electric, the songs were brutal, heavy but tight and the production was just spectacular, unlike any other show I’ve witnessed at the O2 Institute.

The set seemed to be flying by as Pauley announced this would be their last song, fan favourite “YDG”. This was the song that introduced me to OM&M all those years ago, so safe to say, I was loving it. But it wasn’t over, a perfect transition into “Still YDG’n” then again to “Forever YDG’n”. They’d planned this meticulously and it showed, every element of tonights show delivered.

Setlist; Defy, Warzone, Unbreakable, Would You Still Be There, You Make Me Sick, On The Inside Pain, Bones Exposed, Instincts, YDG / Still YDG’n / Forever YDG’n Encore: The Flood,  The Depths

Reviewer: Jordan Wynn

Photographer: Adriana Vasile

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