REVIEW: Set It Off at Kung Fu Necktie

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On September 7, 2018, the Killer in the Mirror Tour came to Philadelphia, PA bringing with them three incredibly talented openers and the headliner, Set It Off, to Kung Fu Necktie.

The first opener, Vista, took the stage just as 5:30 hit and they rocked. The crowd was still a little small yet as doors had just opened at 5:00 but that didn’t stop the band from getting the audience to sing back to them. They were very nice and grateful, even the jokes they made were gentle. Next came De’Wayne Jackson, who I was a bit questionable about on this tour only because he was a hip-hop artist on a Pop-Punk tour, but I’ve seen weird things. From the beginning, he warned us he would be aggressive and then he went in. Man, this is one of the few times I really wish I knew the artist way beforehand. I waned to sing every lyric, hit every beat, and just go with it with him and that’s just the type of performer he was! He electric but humble and aggressive but very warm. The final opener, Chapel, was another band who started out a little slow for my personal taste. I am also fond of new music via openers and their beats felt slightly off to me for the first song or so. They performed a cover of Young, Dumb, and Broke by Khalid that was okay, but it was after this that they really brought me over as a fan. The songs they did had some really nice lyrics on top of the music seemingly meshing now. On top of this though, their front man knew how to entertain the whole time. He asked the audience to repeat after him at one point as you would do with lyrics but then had them repeat a few classic Vines. At another point, he asked the crowd to split down the middle and I’m assuming someone in front said something about a mosh pit because he made a quick “shut up, not like that” joke. Overall, Chapel’s performance was really solid and was a really great choice to transfer into Set It Off.

I have never been to a Set It Off show that did not take all of your energy out of you and this one would surely be no different. By now, the venue was fully packed for the sold-out show and you could tell it was going to be a good one. As soon as the light went out, the energy in the air skyrocketed until the band lit of on stage. The lead singer, Cody Carson, is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan so he was adorning a Carson Wentz jersey (and would make a few Go Birds! comments throughout the night considering the big win the night before, which he had been tailgating at).  As soon as the lights went on and the crowd started going crazy, the band jumped into one of their more charismatic songs, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. From here they led right into their most recent single and tour named, Killer in the Mirror, in which Cody decided get up from the stage on to the crowd, stand, trust fall on to top, and be carried back to the stage. The two guitarists, Dan Clermont and Zach DeWall, typically take two different roles with Dan being major back-up vocals and Zach helping out for when its needed (though this time there were several jokes because his mic stand had no mic) but they also hype up the crowd and get them to interact. While Cody is bouncing all around, it is not unusual to see Dan and Zach come out and clap their hands above their heads to get the audience even more into it. This is a Set it Off show. There is always something to look at, always something to do, you can never be bored. Even if none of that interest you, the final member Maxx Danziger is either going super hard on the drums (which is interesting in itself to watch) or making a goofy face or just messing around. A Set It Off show is complete entertainment.

After performing a popular song about someone who was cheated on called The Haunting, Cody went into an inspiring speech about how amazing concerts are. He said that they were a place of no judgements, especially theirs. He didn’t want people to judge though who were going too hard or singing too loudly or offkey because this is an outlet for so many people and it is meant to be a good, free time to just be yourself. With this speech, he said this is what their song Duality was about and jumped into it. Something else to know about Set It Off, they try to get you off your feet as much as possible. So whether its one of them motioning with their hands or the members jumping on stage, they want you to jump. A lot of the time, Cody will make a comment before a heavy beat song so it was no surprise to me when you transferred into the next song by yelling,” If there’s a basement, we’re gonna f—– find it!” before playing N.M.E. They kept that pace up for their next few songs, including some synchronized moves by the lead 3, until they got to the typical point of a concert where bands slow things down.

Cody began another speech with explaining that right now, the world is not the best place. Racism and segregation are still high, bullying is debatably getting worse, and those struggling are being pushed even further into their suffering. He got optimistic at the end of his speech though hoping that we can be the ones to change that. He went into their beautiful slow song, Wild Wild World. There was a lot of crowd interaction with this one, many waving their arms back and forth and others pulling out their phone lights (one guy pulling out a lighter). It was a very nice performance and perhaps a little metaphor for a bit of calm in the chaos in the grand scheme of it all. They continued their show with a nice smooth transfer with a song called Bad Guy which starts off a little slow, picks up, but doesn’t go too hard like a few of their other songs. It’s a song that you still have a chance to belt out and dance to so a perfect in between because the next song was back to 110% energy. Ancient History is a song you clap to from the first lyrics before you jump and dance at the same time. Let’s just say you literally have to do everything you do at a concert all at once for the song; it is a crowd pleaser. There is one small break, if you can call it that, when Dan gets to come out and really prove his gnarly skills with a mini guitar solo before the beat picks back up.

They threw it back to their debut full-length Cinematics and performed their hit Kill The Lights (which I may or may not have practically lost my voice during) and the crowd went wild. By now, the venue was so hot from the everyone’s movements but that had not killed the energy one bit. Over the course of the night, Set It Off had made sure to shout out to the crowd about how good they were doing. They went right into their final song, Hypnotized, which Cody has a slick hip-hop verse which he performed flawlessly. Lights went out and the band ran off stage but we all knew it wasn’t off. Chants for “Set It Off” and “One more song!” exploded right away. It took about two minutes of chanting before they came running out to loud cheers. Cody made a joke about having the crowd “Boo Zach” but than had them chant back “I’m kidding, your haircut looks really great today!” He began to explain that they were going do a melody of their songs, a mix of old and new, that they put on YouTube before but they had performed some songs from that video earlier, so they were going to try to mix some new ones in. While explaining this, the other three guys attempted to jump and touch the ceiling of the venue. Eventually, Max stood on his stool and was able to do it to a roaring crowd. The songs involved in the melody were I’ll Sleep When I Am Dead, Horrible Kids, Swan Song, Breathe in Breathe Out, Plastic Promises, Admit It, and Partners in Crime. To send off the crowd in a final bop they performed their popular single Why Worry which the crowd very loudly sang along with. The best part about this song is the chorus is very simple in that is screams “Why” a lot which allows literally everyone to get into it and was the best way to end the night.

Set List

  1. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  2. Killer in the Mirror
  3. The Haunting
  4. Duality
  5. N.M.E.
  6. Uncontainable
  7. Bleak December
  8. Life Afraid
  9. Wild Wild World
  10. Bad Guy
  11. Ancient History
  12. Kill the Lights
  13. Hypnotized
  14. Song Melody (I’ll Sleep When I Am Dead, Horrible Kids, Swan Song, Breathe in Breathe Out, Plastic Promises, Admit It, and Partners in Crime)
  15. Why Worry