The Screamo Bait-and-Switch :: Of Mice & Men

EMOGIRL2

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been posting a lot of metal lately. I’m telling everyone it’s just a phase (I’m entitled to one of those, right?). Recently, I even talked my best friend and frequent concert companion into coming with me to an Of Mice & Men concert, where I soon realized that perhaps this little phase of mine was a bit juvenile – seeing as we were the oldest people there.

Seriously, moms and dads were camped out in the lobby.

Despite feeling minorly silly and moderately creepy, I noticed something that had me chuckling to myself as I drove home. I’m going to refer to it as “The Screamo Bait-and-Switch.”

It’s no secret that the majority of these bands drive hoards of emo, blue-haired and heavily eye-linered girls to their shows, to their instagram accounts, to their facebook pages, etc. Why, you ask? Well in case you didn’t read this post that I’m less than proud of, it’s because of the attractive, tattoo-encrusted frontmen who lead them.

Who cares if he can sing? Who cares if he can play his instrument with any measurable amount of ability that gives him the right to be onstage instead of the countless other shmoes out there who can play Metallica’s entire musical catalogue? He’s pretty. Right?

Such is the case of Austin Carlile. He’s tall, and though he looks much older than his 25 years, he has an easily-marketable charm about him. He’s endured his share of challenges, having only half a heart (literally) and undergoing open heart surgery in 2011. He’s an acceptably talented screamer, and being the frontman, he’s the one driving the girls to the shows.

But this post is not about Austin Carlile. Want to know why?

Because he’s not doing the singing. The actual reason to listen to Of Mice & Men is not for the screaming, but for the aptly titled “clean vocals,” sung on the record by former band member Shayley Bourget and sung in concert by current stand-in (and hopefully permanent replacement) Aaron Pauley.

It is these gentlemen that make this band matter. Thus, the Screamo Bait-and-Switch.

I can’t speak to Shayley’s abilities performing live, but I can tell you that it was HIS vocals that drew me in, with songs like My Understandings and When You Can’t Sleep at Night (both sung entirely by him – not an ounce of Carlile in there). Aaron, currently touring with the band as Shayley’s replacement, has such an incredible range – and didn’t falter off pitch a single time for the whole set.

So what’s the tragedy here? People were so transfixed with Austin that they barely even noticed Aaron. One of the best live voices I’ve ever heard and people barely even noticed him.

The moral of the story is this – these bands sometimes get a bad rep for the audiences they draw in, but the fact of the matter is, most of them don’t even understand why they should really be there in the first place. So let the emo girls have Austin Carlile. While they’re busy drooling over him, I’ll be in line to meet Aaron Pauley, the real reason to see the show.

Check out those clean vocals here:

My Understandings – Of Mice & Men
When You Can’t Sleep At Night – Of Mice & Men

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Categories: Concert Review

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