Of Mice & Men Turn the Underground at the Fillmore into a Warzone
The Underground at the Fillmore – Charlotte, NC – 20 February 2018
With all of the bands on the bill being known for their explosive performances, I walked into this one knowing that I was in store for one hell of a night, and the sold-out crowd in attendance helped set this one up for nothing but complete insanity.
Fire From The Gods was the first band to take the stage after I entered the venue. Moscow had already played their set as I was standing in line and going through security. I met the guys of FFTG last year at Carolina Rebellion, way before I even knew anything about their music. Once I did get the record through a promo, I was mind blown by their sound and the mix of musical influences. The band backs up their diverse sound in their live performances with stellar crowd interaction and high energy on stage. All members of the band, drummer included are always jumping around the stage and enjoying their show. For me, it really seems like they just love being there, and their rigorous touring cycle solidifies that. This band has been on the road most of the past year and even though they seem like they should be burnt out, they don’t show it if they are. Their lighting for this tour is also really good, but sadly for the other bands, this wasn’t the case.
Next to take their place on the stage was rising New Orleans metal outfit, Canehill. I’ve heard a bunch of buzz about these guys through the music news wires and I was pretty excited to see them live. Once again, this band has an amazing stage energy that radiates through the venue. Catching them with my camera was extremely difficult since they tend to like the darker lighting setups and use of backlighting, but this didn’t hurt them in my book, they gave the crowd everything the band had in their tank and the fans loved it. It was during the second song of their set when the crowd surfers began to start making their way closer for a chance to see the band in a more personal manner.
As the dust settled a bit after Canehill left the stage, Blessthefall took their places to help keep the energy levels up. The band, who is currently on tour to help promote their new album due out next month, love to have fun on stage. They constantly ran around in any open space that they could find or in some cases getting on the barricade to get closer to their fan base. Fans in the front row along with many of the photographers in the pit received a more than welcomed cool down from frontman Beau Bokan as he sprayed everyone down with water from the on-stage water bottles. It was during their performance that I realized something, photographing the headliner for the night was going to be a challenge, especially with the number of crowd surfers in the venue.
As the teardown and set up for Of Mice & Men took place, the head of security gathered all of the photographers in attendance together to have a short meeting about their plans for the headlining set, warning us that they might have to kick us out of the pit early due to the safety concerns for the photographers, the fans, the staff, and the band. Many of us understood the reason behind the conversation as we entered the photo pit. As Of Mice & Men took to the stage, they opened with the title track for their new album Defy. This is the second time I have had a chance to see these guys live and I will tell you, they put on a hell of a show. Their production value is amazing along with their energy, plus these guys are one of those bands that I root for, especially after their comeback shortly after losing their former frontman. Honestly, none of that has seemed to phase them in the least bit.
This is one of those tours that is well worth the money, all of the bands leave everything on the stage, giving you one of the best overall show experiences that you can expect. The production value with the lighting set up is something that makes everything well rounded, usually, only 2 of the bands will have a good light setup but all of them deliver on the visual side of the spectrum. The Defy Tour will be in the states until the 8th of March before it goes overseas for the spring hitting Australia, Asia, and Europe.
All photos © James Geiser
Of Mice & Men
Fire From The Gods
All photos © James Geiser