Of Mice & Men Tour Rocks Atlanta, GA – Atlanta, Georgia showed up as The Masquerade housed a sold-out show with headliner Of Mice & Men accompanied by Moscow, Cane Hill, Fire From the Gods and Bless the Fall. These bands created one hell of a lineup. Of Mice & Men has been blowing it up. Even though the band lost an unbelievably talented vocalist when Austin Carlisle left, Aaron Pauley stepped right up and revamped their sound. He did this with no real down time and without losing sight of the passion that got them where they are today.
Unfortunately, I late arrived missing the entire Moscow set and but managed to catch Cane Hill‘s final song of their set. This sucked, sometimes I am lucky enough to get to hear some amazing opening bands, but this was not one of those fortunate nights. Nonetheless, I did arrive in time for three of the five bands and they did not disappoint. Pushing through the crowd was a must because I am not exaggerating when I say packed; it was packed. There were energized bodies wall to wall, giving true meaning to rockin’ and rollin’. These invigorated bodies also smelled like a rock show; perfectly clammy, sweaty and musty.
Fire From the Gods are a band that is quickly becoming a household name. They have been climbing the charts over the past year and touring heavily giving first hand proof that they are worthy of that status. Vocalist, AJ Channer, guitarists, Jameson Teat and Drew Walker, bassist, Bonner Baker and drummer Richard Wicander make up this highly talented group that delivers an awesome trio of “heavy metal power, hip-hop consciousness and a little reggae spirit”. When these facets are correctly combined together, you get a sound that is powerful and hard not to acknowledge. Their songs are about freedom; freedom from hate and freedom from overcoming anything that attempts to hold you down. Their set list was a look into ‘Narrative’ and ‘Narrative Retold’, the albums that kicked their career into high gear without brakes. They opened with “The Voiceless”. The heaviness of their growls sparked the crowd who immediately began surfing and attempting to create mini-circle pits. With the crowd these bands brought to the show, having room for any type of pit was almost impossible, but they made it work. Their current single “Evolve” and “Excuse Me”, the hit that got them started on this path last summer, were obviously fan favorites of the night.
Bless the Fall came up next. I was not extremely familiar with their music, but the fans were wild during their set with surfers coming without pause, landing upside down but not caring whether they were caught or not. It was like they were being thrown from the crowd to the stage. The crowd was lit. The band was on fire. They didn’t stand still even for a moment. It was obvious that these guys knew how to involve the crowd, constantly welcoming fan interaction. They were amazing live and when a band is that good live, their albums are generally fantastic. Though I could not mouth the lyrics like the fans could, I became a fan instantly as soon as they came on stage. There was some sound distortion here and there but that can be contributed to the shear vocal strength of powerhouse vocalist, Beau Bokan. He has a vocal arsenal in that small physique. They had an eight song set that included “Youngbloods”, “Walk on Water” and “Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted”, along with several others from prior albums. They let us peak into their new album with “Melodramatic”. Their new album, ‘Hard Feelings’, is scheduled to be released on March 23rd. They were giving away the pre-order of their album free with every shirt purchase during the concert. That’s an awesome give away. I was very impressed with their show and based on the fan reaction to each and every song, they won’t be fading away anytime soon.
Of Mice & Men came on strong. The dark stage lit up with reds and greens as the band appeared committed and ready to give us a show to remember. That they did, without fail. Aaron has really come through and kept the momentum going since the departure of Austin Carlisle. I am a huge Austin fan so I was a not ready to accept his leaving when it first happened. I knew Aaron had done backing vocals and was completely capable, but I had to witness him, minus Austin to believe it was possible to still love OM&M. This was my second time seeing them in concert since Austin left. Both times, I have been overjoyed at how easily Aaron fits into the role. He has become a driving force, a very powerful lead vocalist, one that I think is possibly underrated. The band supports him flawlessly. Valentino keeps that smile slapped wide across his face as he tears up the drums. You can feel his personality as he plays. He is a beast, but seemingly a playful one. Philip and Alan take turns throwing themselves back and forth across the stage as they effortlessly playing guitar without missing any chords. It seems the ladies are pretty drawn to Philip. His grin can warm even the coldest of souls.
On this night, the journey with OM&M started with the title track off their recent album release ‘Defy’, as well as other already popular songs from the album, “Unbreakable”, “Back to Me” and their cover of “Money” originally by Pink Floyd. The album has already hit number 3 on Billboard Top Hard Rock Album Charts. Throughout the show, surfers continued full force. The band solicited it heavily and as everyone held their horns in the air, screaming with all their might for the show to go on, the night had to end. For the encore Aaron asked everyone to get as low as they could to the floor, the crowd was as quiet as imaginable at a rock concert. Everyone waited with baited breath for Aaron to instruct them on their next move. Then, with a few taps of the cymbals, slowly intensifying guitar riffs that led to the satisfying thump of the bass drum, Aaron screamed for Atlanta to GET UP, and everyone rose, jumping up and down with satisfied bliss as the band closed their set with “The Depths”.
During the entire walk to the car, people around were talking about the awesomeness of the show and how much ass it kicked. I’d say that is proof of its success. Every band gave a truly perfected performance. I can’t think of anything that could’ve made it better. Well, maybe good lighting.
Fire From the Gods Setlist:
In Spite of Doubt
Bless the Fall Setlist:
You Wear a Crown But You’re No King
Walk on Water
Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted
Of Mice & Men Setlist:
Would You Still Be There
Back To Me
On the Inside
The Depths (encore)
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