On Monday, January 22, 2018, local band VictoriaDrive opened the show for Set It Off at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. The band presented only a portion of their full ensemble, for they were providing an acoustic performance for the audience. From the beginning of their set, one could tell that the two members were both high-spirited, which was easing after their smaller instrumental mishap that the band handled professionally and in a timely manner. Throughout their set, the band provided acoustic renditions of some of their original materials as well as a few cover songs. This was strong for the band, for it gave the audience a chance to truly interact with them, and it allowed for everyone in the room to have a genuinely exciting time. Despite not having a various number of fans present, the lead singer prompted the audience to join in with them, which was a nice addition to their set, for it gave the audience a chance to wake up as a crowd, and it gave everyone in the room a chance to interact with them as the performers. Although this wasn’t a floor-breaking performance, their small set got the audience amped and ready for the headliners as well as make them want to hear some of the band’s original works as written.
Next up was another Pittsburgh local band: SECRET EYES. The band started their set in an ominous manner; to further, the band arrived on the stage with navy blue lighting mixed with an electronic backtrack that resonated similarly to an intense moment in any sci-fi film. From here, the lead singer presented vocals that remained higher in his vocal range in an effortless technique, which caught the audience off guard, for the band’s look didn’t portray such a timbre, but that didn’t harm the band’s performance at all. As the band got comfortable in front of the audience, and the audience warmed up to the band, it was easy to notice that the music the band was presenting was beginning to sit well with the audience. Their music pulled several genre influences throughout each song within their set; meaning, portions of some of their works felt as if they belonged in a metal breakdown, but others felt like they would fit well with a pop ballad. That being said, it was refreshing that the band was able to pull so many musical influences and create a sound that was uniquely theirs, which helped to capture the audience’s interests as their set progressed. Most of the material the band presented throughout their set was original to them; however, the band did play one cover song during their set, which was a nice shift, so that the crowd could be more involved with the band. Overall, the band was a strong opener for the concert, and they were persistent with conveying their original sound to the audience.
Set It Off:
Since The Gospel Youth didn’t make it across the ocean in time, the concert, from there, switched directly to the main artist of the evening: Set It Off. As always, the band arrived for their performance with an energetic selection, this time around they used “Uncontainable” to kick things off. From the first selection to the last song of the encore, the band gave their performance one thousand percent, if not more, which is what makes a Set It Off show so incredible. Throughout the set, the band primarily performed songs from their newest release “Upside Down” and their previous release “Duality”. Although some of the older fans in the audience would’ve loved some more throwback tracks thrown in, the band’s dance break based around their Backstreet Boys cover, and their inclusion of “Kill the Lights” was enough to satisfy everyone. Speaking in terms of staging, Set It Off, characteristically, provided small snippets of cohesive moments from song to song by including small dance segments/rhythmic figures that each member participated in. This is characteristic for the band; thus, when one goes to a Set It Off show, they don’t just expect those said moments, they hype them up, which heightens the performance all the more. The last song before their encore was “Upside Down”, the title track to their latest release, and this was a smart “final” selection for the concert, for it gave both Cody and Dan the opportunity to play their instruments (Dan on trumpet and Cody on saxophone). This was significant for the performance because it gave the audience the chance to connect with the band more, for this gave them the chance to see what else the band is passionate about musically, and it provided a new experience for the audience.
Overall, I am giving this concert a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this occasion such a score for several reasons. Starting with the opening acts, the two local bands captured the attention of the audience, and they did everything they could to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone while they shared their musical vision with everyone, which made for a strong concert open, even when not many people knew their material. Moving to Set It Off, I don’t think Set It Off is capable of giving a terrible performance. Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed Set It Off evolve into the band they are today: from the small Insidious 2 stage on the 2013 Warped Tour to various headlining shows. With that being said, each time the band performs, they go into the performance with a positive attitude that sticks with the audience, which creates an overly positive environment resulting in an amazing concert experience. Additionally, each time the band performs I believe they fall deeper into their own characteristic groove that only works for them, which makes them special as a band and for this scene of music. Furthermore, if you have never seen Set It Off live, change that immediately because you won’t regret it.