Of Mice & Men / Crown The Empire / Hands Like Houses
Portsmouth Pyramids – 08/10/16
It might be above a swimming pool and smell of chlorine, but Portsmouth Pyramids was the place to be when Hands Like Houses, Crown The Empire and Of Mice & Men hit the venue.
First up, Hands Like Houses (9) may well be from the other side of the world but they’ve clearly made their music heard over here in the UK. Tracks like ‘Colourblind’ and ‘Division Symbols’ off new album ‘Dissonants’ showcased to the crowd exactly why these guys have what it takes to be a big deal in this scene and why their name is worth jotting down. Endless energy and a flawless performance musically is fast becoming a trend of theirs, with every member putting 110% into the show. It’s apparent that despite the hook to new single ‘Perspectives’ being “you just don’t get it”, these guys clearly do and it won’t be long until they become the headlining act of shows of this magnitude!
Crown The Empire (8) rattle through an impressive display of songs with visible excitement, despite being a vocalist down. With Andy pulling double duty it’s remarkable how well the performance comes across and it’s clear they’ve earned their reputation for being a stellar band. The performance isn’t quite flawless however; as all the vocal work is clearly a tall order for one person and it comes across as him trying to do too much during some songs. Songs like ‘Hologram’ taken from the recent album ‘Retrograde’ go down remarkably well, and show how many fans here have already learnt the lyrics to the new tunes. The highlight of this performance though is the set closer ‘Machines’, pits open and all hell breaks loose. Avid and casual fans alike know the words to this one and it’s one big sing-a-long in this pyramid, its no wonder Crown The Empire has such hype around them.
After what seems like an eternity, Of Mice & Men (7) take to the stage. As the introduction plays you can feel the tension in the air as fans catch their breath in excitement. ‘Pain’ opens the set in a way that promises to deliver OM&M fans exactly what they’ve been waiting for. However only half a minute into the performance, Austin jumps from the stage to aggressively push the photographers from the photo pit, clearly throwing a few of the fans in the front row, many looking confused. Not batting an eyelid the rest of the band continues to roll through the track, it’s an impressive display of the new album. The crowd really kicks things up a notch during hits like ‘Would You Still Be There’ and ‘Feels Like Forever’ when everyone is shouting to the rafters and its reminded that this band has some pretty impressive tunes in its back catalogue. A few mosh pits open but by and large the crowd doesn’t get too rowdy, when all too soon the evening is called to an abrupt ending as Austin becomes too unwell to continue on. Although the night was shorter than intended its not all bad news, the newer material may not have been quite the hit it could have been but the fan favourites sounded huge. It’s clear with the recent announcements that OM&M need to rest, recuperate and regroup (perhaps with an attitude adjustment) but they certainly still put on a great show.
Review & Photography: Jade Falconer Photography