Woe, Is Me
Sleeping with Sirens
I Set my Friends on Fire
Of Mice & Men
From the very moment doors opened at 6:30; anxious, faithful fans poured into the Key Club in Los Angeles for the sold out, “Of Mice & Men” show on April 16th. As more and more fans entered the venue the pit got more crowded and tighter. “Amity Affliction” started off the evening at 7:00.
“Woe, Is Me” followed at around 7:45 and by then the venue was packed with hundreds upon hundreds of diehard fans. Most with large gauges, nose, lip and other body piercings, scene hair, makeup, and arms covered in bracelets.
From the very beginning of “Woe, Is Me” the crowd’s energy intensified as the lead singer encouraged the moshing. After playing an older song, which caused at least 15 crowd surfers to get up on stage; the band decided to make a “wall of death” As they split the room in half they had 1 rule….“No one gets hurt” singer Tyler Carter declared with authority. As the band counted to 3, both sides of the crowd ran forward smashing into each other. Though Carter’s rule wasn’t exactly enforced; those who fell, we instantly helped up. “Woe, Is Me” finished their set with a cover of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” transforming the popular pop song, into a full out screamo song. The band ended the song and set with 3 of the member’s stage diving into the crowd.
The same intensity kicked in when “Sleeping with Sirens” and “I Set my Friends on Fire” performed. Both very different music types but both had great live acts, while staying on key and entertaining the crowd with stories.
“Sleeping with Sirens” kept the same amount encouragement for moshing and crowd surfing, while “I Set My Friends on Fire” kept it to a minimum but had good vocal strength and amazing movement on stage. Both performances ended with band members from both bands, jumping into the crowd still strumming their guitar and singing. By the time these performances ended it was close to 9:40,
It was already 10:00 pm as the crowd got more and more anxious. They swayed side to side and stopped as lights dimmed. Cheering began as did the Star Wars theme song. The band entered onto the smog filled stage and took their rightful spots. Singer, Austin Carlile, came on stage last wearing a Stars Wars “White Vader” helmet. The crowd pushed forward and the band went into the opening song “Those in Glass Houses” as Carlile tossed the helmet away. “We are ‘of Mice & Men’, from the United States of America” Carlile shouted.
It was a perfect fast, aggressive and high energy song to start off the set. It had a good amount of screaming that fans moshed and head banged to, as well as a catchy chorus which the entire venue melodically sang.
“Farwell to Shady Glade” followed and “They Don’t Call It The South For Nothing” after that. During the chorus Carlile demanded that the crowd sing along. They obeyed and he smiled as he held the microphone out to the audience. Carlile then proceeded to kneel down and waved at a camera that was taking a video. He took the camera from the fan as he was screaming and held it up toward himself and then put the camera toward the audience and recorded them. He turned toward the head banging guitarist Phil Manansala as they exchanged smiles. He handed the camera back to the fan and continued with his screams as he spun himself in circles. When the intense screaming and guitar strumming stopped, all the band members, except for Carlile, dropped to the floor. Rhythm guitarist Alan Ashby was doing a summersault, Manasala was spinning and bassist Shayley Bourget was kicking his feet into the air, all while they were still playing their instruments. Carlile laughed in between the screams when he turned around and saw them on the floor. Ashby did a backward summersault to get up as did Bourget. Once they were all up, and singing the chorus, a man walked on stage and bowed to the audience. He did a back flip and left the stage as the song ends.
“Who in this room bought our first album?” Carlile asked.
With 90% of the audience with hands in the air, Carlile declares, “Everyone with their hands in the air right now, this one’s for you” as they went into “This One’s For You.” Bourget started off this slow paced song with vocals and it was obvious, when the song started, most bought the album because everyone sang along. Carlile followed with his signature screams. The song had a good balance of singing and screaming that the crowd clearly enjoyed.
Then the high energy was brought back by “Westbound and Down.” “I want a circle pit, but I won’t make you guys go through that. Put your arms above your head with your hands touching each other at the top. Then spin like this.” Carlile told the crowd as he demonstrated. “Spin all by yourself and for this song everyone will be in their own little circle pit!” He looked back at Arteaga to count the band in and stuck his tongue out while laughing at the idea. As the song started members of the audience spun in circles but eventually got dizzy and went back to head banging.
Throughout the song, Carlile kneeled on the platforms that they had on the edge of the stage. It was a song which brought simultaneous head banging from all 3 guitarists and a large amount of crowd surfing.
Following was “The Ballad of Tommy Clayton & The Rawdawg Millionaire” with Bourget singing the chorus while Carlile had arms out toward the crowd motioning them to sing along. He pounded on his chest while looking up, mouthing the lyrics. The song slowed and Carlile said “I wanna see this crowd open up for the first time tonight. Bloody terror, stop beating hearts.” Bourget stood atop a platform back toward the audience while Manasala and Ashby high fived the members in the front row. Bourget squatted and turned toward the audience to make sure they were ready. Once drummer Valentino Arteaga counted them in with his sticks, Bourget fell backwards into the sea of hands ready to catch him and they lifted him up high like he was a trophy the crowd just won. As he was having difficulty getting back on stage while strumming his guitar, Carlile lifted him back up. As the song ended both Carlile and Bourget started talking to the sound booth because of troubles with their mics.
“Hey, what’s up with the mic? I thought I was just trippin.” Carlile asked as Bourget checked the mic.
After the small issue with the microphones was resolved, the band decided to play a new song. Even though it was new, Carlile still wanted the crowd to help sing along.
“I want all you guys to help me out!” He said as he pointed across the venue.
“I’m going to put my fist in the air and when I do that, I want you to sing it with me as loud as you can. ‘You won’t bring me down; I’ve got my feet on solid ground.’ Let’s have some fun Hollywood!”
Before starting the new song, Carlile looked at the hat he was wearing that a fan had thrown onto the stage and said, “I thought this was a Giants hat, get that shit outta here!” as he threw the hat down. The next song was similar to songs from the previous record, but with this one, guitar riffs were more prominent and the screams were really tight as the band members did background vocals. Once Carlile put his fists in the air, the crowd did as they were told and shouted, at the top of their lungs, the lyrics “You won’t bring me down; I’ve got my feet on solid ground” It was a song that got the crowd more impatient about waiting for the new album to come out on June 14th.
Throughout the night Carlile thanked the crowd repeatedly, “I know I keep saying this but thank you guys so much for being here tonight! We have two songs left! This is called “Ya Dig” which is also known as YDG, a crowd favorite.
This was one of the songs that generated the most moshing and crowd surfing in the entire night. A quarter into the song Carlile had someone join him on stage. It was a guy who sang Carlile’s parts almost until the end. He was a hardcore fan, Conor who incidentally met Carlile at a gift shop before the show and told him that he does a cover of YDG. Carlile gave this fan an opportunity of a lifetime by asking him to help him out with the song. After he performed he gave the microphone back to Carlile and they hugged each other as they parted.
Carlile was now calling all the bands who performed earlier to come on stage.
“If you don’t come out I’m telling everyone what you did last night” He jokingly said. As he paced he motioned for them to come on stage. As the next song started, one by one band members from all the opening acts ran onto the stage. They stood on platforms with hands in the air, jumping up and down. They decided to have some fun. Many jumped into the crowd and surfed their way back on stage. The already crowded stage became more crowded with all the bands there. They all danced and hugged the members of, Of Mice & Men and 4 members got a hold of Manasala and picked him up by holding his arms and legs as he played guitar in the air. Every few seconds, someone either jumped into the crowd or were even pushed off the stage into the waiting crowd.
The band ended the song and left the stage only to hear chanting, “One more song! One more song!”
They came back on stage with Carlile sarcastically saying, “I heard a rumor. A rumor that you guys want one more song! I’ve asked this question a lot and I usually get the same answer. What song do you think we are going to play?”
The crowd shouts “Second and Sebring”
“This is Seconds and Sebring. Thank you very much” Carlile announced as the band began playing. The crowd drowned out Bourget and Carlile’s vocals as the bands from earlier once again run out and flip into the crowd, one by one. Something went wrong with Carlile’s microphone so he quickly jumped over to Bourget’s and continued the song. He wrapped the cord from the mic around his neck and held his hands out for the crowd to sing. Ashby held his guitar in the air and leaped into the crowd. The bands vocalists were no longer heard once the chorus came in, “This is not, what it is, only baby scars! I need your love, like a boy needs his mother’s side” the crowd sang in unison.
As the song came to a close all the bands gathered on stage and hugged one another.
“Thank you guys so much! We love each and every single one of you. We are Of Mice & Men. Sing it as loud as you can!” Carlile yelled as the final chorus was sung by the audience. Carlile made a heart with his hands for all the members of the audience as all guitarists held their instruments like it was a prize and high fived as many fans as they could. The fans pulled Bourget into the crowd by his shirt and laughingly he surrendered to the crowd.