Reviews

Live: Set It Off / With Confidence – O2 Islington, 31/5/16

set it off

A lineup fresh off the Slam Dunk weekend proved to be half a winning combination and half a cringeworthy lack of substance.

6 out of 10

Opening up the show for Set It Off came the only UK-native band in Homebound, who played to a filling room of around 30 people and ending on less than half full. Contrary to this, the five-piece produced a really energetic performance of songs old and new to a crowd who were keen to get warmed up. Unfortunately however, vocalist Charlie Boughton sounded like he was having a really hard time singing to the extent that he just couldn’t hit the notes of his own songs in tune which was pretty gutting considering the energy of the band and his clear ability on record. A very energetic set that just lacked that shine that so regularly makes this outfit stand out – not a criticism so much as a simple “unlucky, it wasn’t your day” because Homebound are definitely one to watch. [6/10] (For fans of any pop punk)

By far the heaviest band of the night came up second in the shape of Kentucky post-hardcore quintet Too Close To Touch. The band have been used to playing mixed bills before – just this year they toured with Creeper and Waterparks throughout the US – but nothing to the level of this show. The band gave it everything they had and nailed every single track with absolute precision, smashing through their career-spanning setlist with the  utmost energy and passion. As was mildly unsurprising though considering the co-headliners, a large portion of the room weren’t interested in them musically with only a slight nod of the head and short applause following each track which was a huge shame for a band who showed even the more experienced groups on the list how intense a show can get, even as a support. Fantastic set from a brilliant band, do not sleep on this lot. [9/10] (For fans of Hands Like Houses)

The first co-headliner to play was With Confidence, who have had a monumental rise through the last year. This is their second UK headline run (if you can call it that playing before Set It Off) since the start of February when they hit our shores with BroadsideSafe To Say and Milestones, yet in that short period their fanbase has gotten even stronger. Playing through tracks from their debut album Better Weather mixed in with a few of EP songs (namely I Will Never Wait and fan-favourite Godzilla) has worked a treat in recent shows and this was no different. The set was played out with a rather large rubber penis taped to guitarist Luke’s microphone stand much to the amusement of the largely-teenage crowd, yet this charisma combined with the tight musical performance provides a charming show. Set highlights came threefold: a performance of London Lights in its hometown proved massively energetic; Keys fronted by guitarist Inigo Del Carmen in the usual emotional state of the song (he wrote it about his close friend who took her own life, hence the huge emotive connection) and the set closer Keeper which is always filled with pure energy from band and audience alike to see out the show. Another great set from a band shooting for the stars. [9/10]

Set it off with confidence
With Confidence

A good five years ago is when Set It Off started to deviate from their pop punk roots to being a straight-up pop band and the main body of their set only went to prove this. With the collection being taken largely from 2016 effort Upside Down came the lack of substance musically and emotionally with huge portions of the track relying on backing tracks for basslines, backing vocals and even the horn section which sounded especially corny live (made mildly better when guitarist Dan Clermont pulled out his trumpet for a live rendition). The crowd were screaming and going absolutely mad for the band lacking substance the most of any of the bands on the lineup with their setlist, though that being said the encore changed everything. Delving back through the catalogue to Cinematics for a guitar/vocal rendition of Swan Song proved even to the critics in the room that the band do have a certain level of integrity however the set may have seemed, and finishing with Hypnotized carried on the freshness of the encore to the end. Overall, a set saved by both the stage presence and outstanding vocal performances of frontman Cody Carson. and the encore song choices. Set It Off are popular yet seem to have lost themselves in a commercial abyss – hopefully soon they’ll show off their musical ability once more rather than leaving it hidden under backing tracks. [6/10]

Set it off
Set it off
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