Of Mice & Men Bring it to the Beachum

By on February 28, 2018

  Photos by Troy Fisher & Travis Failey

Of Mice and Men brought their Defy Tour to the Beachum Theater in Orlando on Friday night. Joing them on this leg of the tour was Blessthefall, Cane Hill, Fire From the Gods, and MSCW.  It was a very early show as the doors opened at 3:30 and according to the fans, MSCW (Moscow) got the stage heated up to a smaller crowd than what the tour has been normally drawing. This is understandable as the venue filled up as the show progressed.

Another interesting fact in regard to this show was that it was 12 and older and it was the cheapest ticket of the tour. I don’t believe in my years of covering hard rock or metal shows, that any of them started this early ( except for festivals ) and that 12 year olds were allowed in the venue unless they were accompanied by their parents.

After MSCW and Fire From the Gods finished their sets, Cane Hill, a band that has been getting a lot of pomp and sizzle since performing at last year’s Chicago Open Air Festival, hit the stage. They opened with “Time Bomb” and got the crowd into a pit moshing frenzy as three disco balls above the crowd lit up the venue.

“Lord of Flies,” the single and video from their second release, Too Far Gone, was up next and showed off vocalist Elijah Witt’s versatility as he mixed some Jonathan Davis type vocals with a bit of Hollywood Undead and SlipKnot. Witt had no problem getting the crowd fired up and his brothers behind him have developed their own interesting sound with dual screaming guitars and thunderous drum and bass beats.

As they moved throughout their 8 song set and finished up with the title track from “Too Far Gone,” I was impressed with their energy and their ability to keep the crowd at a fever pitch throughout. It’s going to be interesting to see how their career develops. They have a summer full of shows on their agenda, and  Cain Hill should continue to increase their fan base like they did Friday night at the Beachum.

After a short break and stage changeover, Blessthefall jumped on stage and sprayed some liquid all over the front part of the crowd which got the photographers in the photo pit scurrying for cover. The Arizona quintet opened with “You Wear a Crown But You’re No King” as their backdrop          (donned in colors from their upcoming release, Hard Feelings) flowed down from the back of the light rack.

As Blessthefall continued with “Youngbloods” “Oathbreaker” and “Walk on Water” the crowd shifted from moshing to crowd surfing which led to a bunch of attendees falling pretty hard to the floor of the Beachum. Some got up a bit weary but others went surfing again and threw up the horns as vocalists Jared Warth and Beau Bokan smiled in affirmation.

Blessthefall provided their fans a spectrum of songs from throughout their 13 year career. A couple of them were “Hey Baby Here’s the Song that you Wanted” from their 2010 Witness album and a new song, “Melodramatic” from their upcoming release, Hard Feelings. They closed out their set with “Hollow Bodies” from their most successful release of the same name. The Hollow Bodies album hit the top 200 at number 15 and helped them attain spots on the Vans Warped Tour for multiple years.

As the band said their thanks to a sweaty & rabid mostly male crowd, the chants of Blessthefall rang off the walls of the Beachum and slowly transitioned to chants for the headliner in Of Mice & Men.

Once again another quick stage changeover as the crew was working double-time to provide the fans a full set of OM&M as the venue changes over to a nightclub at 10 on Friday nights. I was interested to see this version of the band as I have previously seen them twice with founding member Austin Carlisle fronting the band.

As chants for the band resumed, bassist and now lead singer Aaron Pauley led his band mates in Of Mice & Men onto the Beachum stage and the madness began. Opening their set with the title track of their 2018 release Defy, OM&M put on an hour plus 13 song assault on the ears of all in attendance. Three of the next four songs were also from the Defy album with only their biggest radio hit to date in “Would You Still Be There” from Restoring Force splitting them up. It was also during this song that the crowd was singing more than they were moshing.

One of the more memorable moments from the show was when OM&M played an uptempo, more aggressive cover of “Money” by Pink Floyd. Guitarists Alan Ashby and Phil Manasala were amazing again as they have been in the past with Ashby playing the “Money” solo with his face. This pair of axe-slingers along with drummer Valentino Arteaga, are the driving force in Of Mice & Men and as members have changed in the past, these three remain committed to the sound and style that have attained them a huge fan base in the metal-core community.

They continued playing cuts from Defy with “On The Inside” “Instincts” and “Forever YDG’n” which followed up its 2011 predecessor “Still YDG’n.” I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing light show that Of Mice & Men put on at the venue. Clubs in the Tampa area should take a page from the Beachum. Solid front lights, lasers and strobes lit up the club and the band was never in the dark which also led to great crowd interaction.

Pauley has completely absorbed the frontman role and the crowd was feeding off him especially during the closing songs of the night in “You’re Not Alone” and the finale “The Depths.” Pauley reminded the crowd that they are never alone, continuing the family type aspect of the metal community that has been in play since the early 80s.

Friday night at the Beachum had solid performances from all the bands but Of Mice & Men answered correctly all the questions that were being asked. They will be heading overseas for performances at the Download Festival in Australia and the Vans Warped Tour in Japan with Korn and Limp Bizkit.

From the look and sounds of things tonight, Of Mice & Men are back and they will continue to Defy.

For additional dates on this tour, go to https://ofmiceandmenofficial.com/events

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