LIVE: Of Mice & Men @ O2 Forum, Kentish Town

By Christopher Lee

Fresh of the back of their fourth studio release ‘Cold World’ the follow up to 2014’s epic ‘Restoring Force’ Orange County rockers Of Mice & Men roll through London on their now ill-fated UK tour. Of course that tour has now been postponed mid-way through due to singer Austin Carlile’s well documented health issues and on behalf of everyone at Punktastic we wish him a speedy recovery. It’s to Austin’s credit that on the night there were certainly no signs of struggling from him at all.

Opening with the brutal ‘Pain’ from their latest offering the band hit the stage ferociously injecting an immediate energy into the room which responds in kind with mosh pits springing into existence. The song ends with the stage lights plunging into darkness, something which becomes a theme throughout the set after each track with the band attempting to create the desired atmosphere. With the band returning to the stage we’re treated to technically and vocally almost perfect renditions of both ‘Feels like Forever’ and ‘Would You Still Be There’ which have a sound that could fill the biggest of venues and with the crowd singing back every single word it makes for a wonderful spectacle.

The Band clad almost entirely in black are almost like a well-oiled machine powering through a performance that’s incredibly solid and stylish at the same time. Moving on to one of ‘Cold Worlds’ better tracks ‘Real’ and ‘Broken Generation’ from 2014’s reissue ‘Restoring Force: Full Circle’ the band seamlessly blend their set with tracks both new and old. And Austin dedicates ‘Never Giving Up’ to the bands army of fans whom for following the band and giving them their support. We then get a quartet of tracks from 2011’s ‘The Flood’ which include ‘The Calm’, ‘The Storm’ and title track ‘The Flood’ the second of which gets the crowd moving from front to back.

Seemingly ending with the head bang inducing ‘The Depths’ which is a highlight of the evening as the band power through without putting a foot wrong it all feels over way too quickly but after a brief respite the guys are back for an encore of ‘You’re Not Alone’ in which Austin instructed the whole crowd to get down on the ground and jump up Slipknot-esque and ending on ‘Second & Sebring’ from the band’s debut self-titled album.

As a whole it’s been a solid set which may have lacked some enthusiasm and connection with the crowd at points and excelled at others. Knowing what we do now about Austin’s health it could easily explain the performance on the evening but one’s thing for certain it’s that he and the band absolutely gave it their all. Let’s hope Austin gets back to full fitness and that we see the guys back as soon as possible.