Live Review: Of Mice & Men - Koko, London 27/04/2018
Of Mice & Men are back on tour, minus lead singer, Austin Carlile. With bassist, Aaron Pauley, taking centre stage, their performance lacked excitement and didn’t spark the inspirations of the crowd.
Wage War were the final support act before the headliners, and their set was filled with vibrant moves across the stage. All the members of the band seemed excited to be playing in front of a London crowd. Hailing from Ocala, Florida, Wage War have been signed to Fearless Records since 2015 and have been making a name for themselves in the metalcore genre. Briton Bond took hold of the unclean vocals of the band and didn’t shy away from letting his passion for the music show.
Aaron Pauley took over from Austin Carlile as lead vocalist for the band at the end of 2016. This seemed like a somewhat promising change, but Friday night showed none of the energy that Of Mice & Men would have once possessed. There is no doubt that heavy metal suffers when the lead singer doesn’t have the same energy as the crowd. Fixed to the centre of the stage by his guitar and microphone, Pauley gave a vocally impressive performance and that was all.
Guitarist, Phil Manansala, was filled with adrenaline onstage. Head banging and hair tossing were far from lacking and his exciting guitar changes were more than thrilling to me. The other guitarist, Alan Ashby, and drummer, Valentino Arteaga, were also feeling the excitement of playing London’s KOKO. I have never seen a drummer be as captivating and exciting as Arteaga was on Friday night; throwing his fists and devil horns in the air and all-round being metal as hell.
The band delivered new and old tracks to the audience; many of whom have been long-time followers of Of Mice & Men. There was a lot of love for the band in the room on Friday night, but they did not deliver the exhilarating performance that I was expecting.
Words and Photography by Max Herridge