Of Mice & Men @ Fairmount Theatre – October 7th 2019

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Another evening, another show at Montreal’s Fairmount Theatre. The third time in two weeks only, I may as well call this venue my second home and bring my sleeping bag! After an evening last week with Like Moths to Flames and another one with Blessthefall and Escape The Fate, metalcore fans united this week for non-other than Of Mice & Men!

As I entered the venue around 7:40PM, the Southern-California quintet Thousand Below had already started their set and were halfway through one of my favourite songs from them, “Sinking Me”. This song has such an addictive chorus and strong songwriting that it translates perfectly in a live performance. “Chemical” was next, for a more I See Stars or Palisades type of vibe that I really dig. Not everyone in the venue seemed to know who Thousand Below was before they started their set but most of the crowd fell under their spell after the performance they gave. The rest of their set consisted of the songs “Tradition”, “Alone (Out of My Head)”, and “Vein”, for an overall heavy and fun experience for the whole crowd. Vocalist James DeBerg gave his all and didn’t hesitate to join the crowd for their last song, jumping and screaming with them in unison. It was a very beautiful moment.  

Next up on stage was For The Fallen Dreams. I won’t lie, I wish I would’ve known more of their stuff before hearing them live. The only song I knew by heart was “Unstoppable” that was released on the Rise Records YouTube channel and that I added to my Pop-Punk / Hardcore / Metalcore playlist and that I’ve listened times and times again… Thankfully they played that beauty and I was more than happy to sing and scream along! Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of the other songs and didn’t get the chance to stumble upon a setlist they would’ve prepared so my review may remain brief. Guitarist/clean vocalist Jim Hocking’s performance was shockingly amazing. The crowd could tell he was living and breathing through his music; His screams and clean vocals sounded just like the records, kudos to him! The drummer was on fire too and was the most energetic of all band members, he could’ve put on a show by himself and I’m sure everyone in the venue would’ve totally been fine with it. He has a way to communicate with the crowd that’s simply genuine and sympathetic. My apologies though, I tried to look for his name but couldn’t get confirmation of it… what I could get confirmation of though is that this band (formed in 2003 according to my friend Wikipedia) only has one remaining original member (Jim Hocking) and went through no less than 25 band members over the past fifteen years! Anyway… I seem to digress. Despite a wonderful performance, For the Fallen Dreams had a couple issues throughout their set: the first one was a strap issue for guitarist Jim Hocking that had to hold his guitar rather than relying on the strap for a couple of songs, and the other one was the presence of two drunk ladies that seemed to annoy a few people in the crowd and who went on stage and tried to interact with frontman Chad Ruhlig, unsuccessfully. Those are unfortunately the risks of live performance… Nonetheless, For The Fallen Dreams delivered an energetic and dynamic performance that allowed me to practice my headbanging routine to get ready for the real deal, Of Mice & Men!

I don’t quite remember the last time I had the chance to see Of Mice & Men, but if I recall correctly, it would’ve been at Warped Tour 2012 in Montreal, when Austin Carlile was still the band’s frontman. A hot summer day, with sweaty emo/scene kids all over the place, moshing to the sound of “The Depths” and “O.G Loko” like there’s no tomorrow. When I saw the band was back in town this year, I decided I had no other choice but to become that kid once again. As everyone waits from them, “Psychosocial” by Slipknot is playing, leaving us no choice but to scream along with Corey Taylor.  The band opened their set with “Gravedancer”, from their latest album Earthandsky, released September 26th, 2019 through Rise Records. This song may sound ominous and calm at first but quickly reminds us of the roots of the band, with riffs breaking loose after roughly a minute. These few seconds were all it took for the crowd to start headbanging and only stop 14 songs later. OM&M continued with two songs from their previous album Defy, “Warzone” and “Defy”. “Warzone”, a dark and pummeling song delighting those like me who love to see them at their heaviest, was as intense to witness live than on the album, with Aaron Pauley mastering his screams as I’ve rarely seen.

The band showcased more of their latest album, with the eponym song, as well as “How to Survive”, “Taste of Regret”, and the heavy “Mushroom Cloud”, with its galvanizing “Three two one, BOOM!” for which the crowd went fully mental. Like I’ve said earlier, the angsty kid in me wanted to see them perform their old songs again, even though I still had a hard time wrapping my head about what that would sound like after Austin Carlile’s departure back in 2016. Yes, I know, I should probably move on and let him focus on his health and on coaching baseball in Costa Rica! Anyway, I’m digressing again, my apologies! Aaron Pauley did an amazing job on the vocals of “O.G. Loko” and “The Depths”, his performance was mesmerizing and quite unique. Throughout their 14-songs setlist, Of Mice & Men delivered an outstanding performance that satisfied all fans, old and new that night at the Fairmount Theatre, and proved that even after six studio albums and ten years of existence, they’re here to stay on top of the scene. 

Thousand Below Setlist:

  • ???
  • Sinking Me
  • Chemical
  • Tradition
  • Alone (Out of My Head)
  • Vein

Of Mice & Men Setlist:

  • Gravedancer
  • Warzone
  • Defy
  • Would You Still Be There?
  • Earth & Sky
  • Taste of Regret
  • Unbreakable
  • Bones Exposed
  • O.G. Loko
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Mushroom Cloud
  • Pain
  • How to Survive
  • The Depths

Review – Maxime Le Huidoux

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