It’s been a while since I’ve seen Of Mice & Men, a lot has changed in the band since I last went to one of their shows (Portsmouth Pyramids if you’re interested) and from the opening moment I’m thinking ‘wow this is a band that has really upped their game’.

Striding onto the stage; Wage War are all about the strobe lights and kick their set off with Alive from their 2015 album Blueprints. This is a support act that really brings it, as the crowd becomes a seething mass of surfers and huge pits open up. It’s wild and not even 8pm. The band stomp through tracks like Deadweight and Gravity, before ending on a real crowd pleaser Jonny Cash, which gets the hardest mosh-along all evening, and Stitch.

As the house lights dimmed again and the now-four-piece headliner, Of Mice & Men, took to the stage, the audience broke out into a clamouring of approval. Now sometimes when bands change their line-ups it doesn’t work or the members look awkward onstage like something’s missing. Not these guys. The band are a solid unit, from vocals to percussion, Of Mice & Men are a well polished machine.

The set begins with Defy, the title track from their brand new album and new chapter without former frontman Austin Carlisle. This is a track that instantly sets the mood for the whole set, it’s hard hitting, intense and the crowd go wild. The band bound through an impressive setlist including huge numbers like Pain, Unbreakable and Would You Still Be There. The latter of which has a monumental sing-a-long, and walking along the balcony I can’t see a single person not joining in on this banger.

As the evening progresses, the room heats up as numerous mosh pits start and the crowd becomes a sea of activity. Coming back onto the stage for their encore after shouts of ‘we want more’, Of Mice & Men frontman Aaron Pauley assures the crowd they will be getting two more songs, not one. They then pitch into their monster of a track; The Flood before getting everyone in the crowd to get down low for their final song The Depths.

This is a band that clearly have a lot more to prove to the world, but with performances like tonight and albums like Defy under their belts, they definitely won’t be going anywhere but up. 10/10