Kicking off the Set It Off “Midnight” Tour on Saturday, March 2nd , 2019 at Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale, PA was an upcoming artist by the name of L.I.F.T. This band gave the audience a solid mixture between the modern-day pop sound with an edgier alternative sound. As they produced this feel, they gave their listeners dashes of the rap music genre as well as some nods to the pop punk genre as well. With that being said, it was no surprise that the artist, for the jump, was moving around the stage, just leaving their all out there- even if only a few people in attendance had heard of them before. This allowed for an enjoyable experience, for the band was doing everything in their power to make the environment feel inviting, and to act as a catalyst for a night filled with top notch music. Like I said, not many people in the crowd had heard of them before, but the band did well with incorporating the audience in their performance, which helped to start the hype for the evening ahead. Overall, this artist was a surprising opener for the tour, for their sound is different than everyone else on the line-up, but this gave audience members another branch of what this musical genre could and can be; thus, they weren’t a bad choice to throw into the mix.
Next up were the quirky boys in Super Whatevr, and man, was the party ready to start once they hit the stage. From the moment that the band started, the energy was set to 100%, and they only grew from there. As the band performed, it was apparent that they have their own characteristic style that fits them not only as people, but it fits their musical aesthetic as well. This helped to allow the audience to join them on their musical journey, for at that moment, they felt like they were experiencing the music just as the band was. Keeping that in mind, it is crucial to mention that this band puts their all into their performance and nothing (never) less. As an audience member, you can see that the band is digging into their own parts, and just going as over the top as they can to give a good performance, but also to give the selection that they are performing justice. One thing about Super Whatevr’s music that I find to be admirable is that they don’t shy away from the darkness; rather, they embrace it, and that’s the route that they roll with. This was seen throughout the experience, for the band played old to new(er) selections that challenged topics that many people shy away from, and as they did so, they turned them into moments where everyone could just bond together and move forward. This approach is hard to pull off, for many people normally fall to that depressed state, or they feel off-put by the talk of such “taboo” subjects; however, through this set, after hearing such tunes, there was a sense of love across the crowd, for it felt like everyone was a family, and that we could all battle those hardships together- “you are not alone” kind of stuff. Overall, Super Whatevr was a killer, and I mean killer addition, to this line-up, for their music fits in perfectly to the brand and aesthetic that Set It Off drives, and they also bring that genuine sense of happiness that the boys in Set It Off pride themselves on.
Next on the list were the Australia boys in With Confidence. From the jump, the band was not messing around, they were going to give their audience high energy and nothing less. This was heavily seen through their fluctuation from very old to brand new songs. These songs took the audience through moments of nostalgia, especially if you’ve been a fan for some time. As one watches the band, it is noticeable that this band just grinds into their individual instrumental parts. This gives the audience something major to attach to while experiencing some top-notch instrumentals. This also provides those heavy moments where the groove is created a retained, which is the driving factor to 99.9% of the tunes that With Confidence has written. The one thing that was overly enjoyable about this performance was how quick the band was able to get the crowd to participate. I was hesitant at the beginning of their set, for not as many audience members knew the band like I thought they would, but that didn’t scare With Confidence in the slightest. The band took that as a challenge, turned their energy up with the overly catchy melodic lines, and then they turned the party. In general, With Confidence is a fantastic pairing to the boys in Set It Off, for their musical approaches come from the same origin: they utilize similar musical techniques, and they produce songs that are overly catchy and just make you feel good. Having all of that together, they know how to get a crowd moving, so again, a perfect opener for this tour.
Set It Off:
The band that everyone in attendance was waiting for: yes, you guessed it; Set It Off! The band started the night with their new aesthetic from the jump. To start their performance, they had a digital countdown to what would be midnight, and when it would go off, that’s when they would start their performance. I thought this was brilliant, for this was the commencement of the new era of Set It Off, so what better way to kick off the night? From here, Set It Off took their audience on an emotional journey filled with a plethora of highs and a few lows. This gave the audience that chance to connect with Set It Off in a family dynamic, which is a Set It Off signature. Moving throughout the night, the band gave the audience members throwbacks, new bops, and everything in between. This even included a medley of songs ranging back to Cinematics to their newest release Midnight. This heightened the success and enjoyment of their performance, because it felt like you were getting the full version of Set It Off, not just what they are doing in the here and now. About mid-way through the set, the band included a drum feature, where the band’s drummer, Maxx Danzinger crushed the scene to songs that are either currently popular, or selections that have stood the test of time (Toxic by Brittney Spears, just to name one). This gave Maxx the ability to show the audience what he can do, musically speaking, because Set It Off’s music isn’t overly drum heavy, so it was nice to give Maxx some of the limelight. One of the more endearing moments of the night is when the band played their new song “Unopened Windows”, which is about the lead singer’s dad. This included a nice trumpet solo that featured the song Carson usually uses to symbolize his dad in some of their past works. This moment was beautiful to witness, for you could just see the emotion in all of the band, but you could especially see Cody’s emotions. Keeping on that same track, throughout the performance the band was over the top with energy; however, emotion poured out of each and every one of them, which made the night in general more successful because we were all having such a genuinely good time- a night that we would want to last forever. Honestly, I could go on and on about this performance. I have seen Set It Off more times than I can remember. The first time I saw the band live they were on the Insidious 2 stage on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour, and their stage presence was fantastic then. But now, to see them grow, sell out headlining shows, and crush it more and more each time is so heartwarming. This band deserves the fame and the attention that they are getting. They are humble and whole-hearted humans, who are fantastic musicians and just want to share their vision with the world. For that alone, this event gets a 5 out of 5 stars because one can’t not have a good time at a Set It Off show, and each one is better than the next, and the band picked the best openers to compliment the overall aura of the night. Nicely done, and I can’t wait to see what the “Midnight” era has in store.