Florida rockers Set It Off are back on British soil, and this time with the whole tour sold out it promises to be their most exciting run of UK shows to date. Tonight they arrive to a packed Birmingham O2 Institute 2, with Bearings and VUKOVI providing the support.
First up and getting the night underway are Ottawa based Bearings. They do a good job of getting the crowd warmed up and do have some good songs to their name, but without being too overly critical I can't help but feel like I've already heard what these guys are setting out to achieve before. The key ingredients are definitely there and waiting, I'd just like to see them shake things up a bit. That being said, latest release 'Blue In The Dark' definitely stood out as a highlight for me so hopefully that is a sign that the best things are still to come from Bearings.
Next up and taking things up a notch are Scottish four piece VUKOVI. I've been hoping to photograph these guys for a while and they absolutely do not disappoint, vocalist Janine Shilstone is a photographers dream as she comes storming out on to the stage. She makes a point of letting us know (a few times) that she has been suffering with the flu, but it absolutely doesn't show, she and the rest of the band are on top form right from the get go. Stand out song 'La Di Da' is one hell of a roof raiser and is perfect for this crowd tonight.
It amazes me that this lot aren't bigger than they are, as they've been on the circuit for longer than you think and certainly know how to put on a show, and also have their own distinct style that sets them apart from other up and coming bands. I also love how interactive Janine is with the crowd, she spends the entirety of the second song at the barrier singing into the crowds faces, she even gets so disorientated that she doesn't know where she is in the set, having to ask her bandmates which song is next! Check these guys out as they certainly don't disappoint.
By now the crowd are more than warmed up and ready for the headliners to take to the stage. Set It Off are here on the back of their latest release 'Midnight' and they waste no time to get into the new material as they open up with 'Lonely Dance'. The band look well up for it tonight, guitarist Dan Clermont has a real spring in his step as he bounces about the stage to 'Uncontainable' and the crowd make no mistake of showing off their wild side as they go especially crazy during 'N.M.E'.
'Unopened Windows' sees the set slow down slightly, but this one is a real tear jerker as vocalist Cody Carson explains beforehand that this was written for his father who he lost to cancer, he urges members of the crowd who have experienced loss to vent along with him. If it wasn't already emotional enough Cody mentions after that the trumpet that they used during this song also genuinely belonged to his father, which is an incredibly beautiful touch.
Drummer Maxx Danziger has his time to shine with a mega drum solo, which sees him drum along to Britney Spears' 'Toxic' and even the universally famous tongue in cheek 'Baby Shark'. Before going into 'The Haunting', Cody again speaks to the crowd, explaining that this gig is a safe place, and an opportunity for people to be different and lose their shit without the fear of being judged or ridiculed, "we can be freaks together!"
Next up we are treated to some quickfire material, "we wanted to fit in as many songs as possible, so we thought we'd do a Medley". I love it when bands do this, as when a bands Discography starts to get bigger there are always songs that will be left out, so a Medley is the perfect answer. They fire through old favourites such as 'Dream Catcher', 'Swan Song' and 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead' while also touching up some of the new songs with 'No Disrespect'.
The main set comes to an end with the explosive 'Why Worry', before Set It Off finish the night off with an encore that includes 'Partners In Crime' and 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing'. All members of the band look genuinely grateful for the love that the crowd have given them tonight, Cody spends a good few minutes afterwards hugging fans at the front barrier and getting photos.
Set It Off are clearly making massive strides in recent times, selling out a whole UK and Europe tour before they've even played the first show is no easy feat, big things to come from these guys!
Set If Off - https://www.facebook.com/setitoffband/
VUKOVI - https://www.facebook.com/vukoviband/
Bearings - https://www.facebook.com/bearingsisaband/
Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography