Set It Off at Mr. Small’s – Review
By Meghan Zonno
When I got to Mr. Small’s for the Set It Off show, the line of people was around the block. Doors had opened about fifteen minutes prior, and the guards were moving fast to get everyone in, which can only point to how long the line had been before. With fans as dedicated as these, I knew I would be in for a good night. The show consisted of: L.I.F.T (Love In Future Times), an up and coming band from California; Super Whatevr, an alternative band; With Confidence, pop-punkers from Australia; and to headline, Set It Off, a pop-rock band from Tampa, Florida.
L.I.F.T opened the show to a packed room. I was only able to see them perform their last song, “Cassette Tapes.” However, what I did see was promising. The crowd was moving and dancing. Even though many of them most likely did not know who L.I.F.T was, they liked what they heard during their short set. After the first act, the crowd seemed to be pumped up and excited for Super Whatevr, the brain child of lead singer Skyler McKee. Super Whatevr’s set surprised me. I had heard their music before and while I enjoyed it, it was not something I would usually go out of my way to see live. After seeing their performance, my entire view of the band has changed. McKee knew how to draw in an audience. When he wasn’t singing or playing guitar, he was whipping around the stage. He seemed to throw everything he had into the performance. Towards the end of his set, he began talking about the next song, “Someone Somewhere Somehow.” He wrote it as a coping mechanism after losing his cousin to suicide. During this part of the night, he spoke candidly about seeking help and how we need to understand the struggles those around us face. McKee continued the set with a fresh intensity, and by the end of it had jumped into the pit to sing and play along the audience.
Up next was With Confidence, a band I have seen many times. Their ten-song set was similar to the one they had played back in January when they co-headlined a tour with Broadside. There was an equal number of songs from their first record, Better Weather and their second Love and Loathing along with an appearance of a song from a B-side and an EP. Their set did not disappoint, they gave it their usual high energy and threw in a few jokes to loosen the room up. Since their tour in January they released a plugged in version of their acoustic track, “Pâquerette (Without Me),” which we got to hear at the show. I had not listened to the new version yet which showed a striking difference to the acoustic one, yet continued to produce the same feeling of melancholy in me as I sang along to the song about lost love.
I had never seen Set It Off before, so I had no idea what to expect from their show. I surveyed the crowd and noticed that they seemed to attract a lot of younger kids. There were many parents there and I had talked to a few people earlier who said they were chaperones for their younger siblings or their kids. Before they went on, a projected image of a clock counting down to midnight was displayed behind the stage. The clock being a reference to their new album Midnight. The fans began to count down once there were ten seconds left, and as the clock struck midnight, the band appeared on stage. Before the music even started, the crowd erupted into cheers. The lead singer, Cody Carson, threw his hands up with a wide smile upon his face. Then, they got right into the music. The entire crowd was jumping and singing along. Most of the parents seemed to be just as into it as their kids, which was really nice to see. There were a lot of stand out moments during their set—a great drum solo, parents and kids bonding over music, energy that had been unmatched that night—but the best by far was watching as a couple got up on stage. Carson looked at the woman and said, “We don’t have surprise for you, he does” and then handed the man the mic. He then got down on one knee and proposed to her. It was almost impossible to make out the heartfelt “yes” amidst the cheering from the crowd.
Overall, I really enjoyed my night at Mr. Smalls, though maybe not as much as the newly engaged couple, but that’s hard to beat. The fans were incredibly kind as they let me get closer to the stage for With Confidences’ set and danced and sang along with me, a total stranger. I discovered a new appreciation for Super Whatevr and their mission. Lastly, I got to witness something I had only ever seen on Twitter, an on stage proposal. This show proved to me, yet again, that nothing brings people together quiet like music does.
Edited by Sam Taylor