Genre-defying trio Set It Off stopped at House of Blues Cleveland on February 4 for an energetic show that was so hot it almost (ALMOST!) made a dent in the humungous piles of snow stacked around Northeast Ohio. Not a group to be pigeon-holed by labels like Pop, Pop-Punk, alternative (and, don’t you dare label them simply as EMO), their “Welcome to Elsewhere” tour shows why the Florida natives continue to play bigger and bigger venues each tour, despite going through several lineup changes.
A Young-Adult book authored by Lois Lowry titled ‘The Giver,’ which almost every middle school kid in the 90’s read (many of them multiple times) uses “Elsewhere” as a symbol for death. In the book, the characters don’t die, they just vanish to Elsewhere. It is worth noting that the book is oft-banned in schools now due to mature themes and the current members of Set It Off were right on the cusp of the book being taught-in-school to lunchroom contraband. ..and I HIGHLY DOUBT that the band’s tour name eludes to the book. So, what the heck is my point? If this concert is any indicator of a crossover to what “Elsewhere” is like, I want to buy some real estate there.
The audience screamed with excitement as drummer Maxx Danziger picked up his sticks while guitarist Zach Dewall and charismatic frontman Cody Carson arrived took the stage with an exciting opener, “Skeleton,” the opening track on the band’s forthcoming record, ‘Elsewhere,’ (due out March 11) to give the crowd an exhilarating start to the concert.
The new “forward-looking” album displays their new outlook and happiness in their commitment to the band and presents their most energetic and lively release to date.
With frequent hues of pink and blue to match the hair and jacket of Carson, the live performance was captivating and energizing from the get-go. The band wasted no time jumping right into “Projector,” also off of their forthcoming Fearless Records release. It is a tad unconventional for any artist to open a show with two songs from an album that has yet to drop (although it was worth noting ‘”Projector” was released as a single on January 21).
Capping the first three songs that this review writer was stationed in the coveted photo pit, “Killer in the Mirror” off of their album ‘Midnight’ showcased the band’s energy and how well they interact with the audience. Pointing at the crowd while jumping in rhythm, Carson led the audience to wave their hands and clap along with the song, all swaying and singing along to the catchy chorus. Deep red lights helped portray the feelings Cody was singing, as he realizes how the world is not the nice place he used to think it was.
During the set, Carson called time-out to make mention of his first performance in Cleveland before Set It Off had even formed. He had talked to All Time Low’s frontman, Alex Gaskarth, who allowed Cody to sing “Coffee Shop Soundtrack” on stage at House of Blues, which helped Carson launch his dream of starting his own band. Being back in Cleveland was monumental for him.
It’s no wonder Set It off has amassed over half-billion streams on Spotify alone (162 million which belong to the band’s lone encore selection, “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”) and has received high praise from all the major media outlets from coast to coast. Tonight was a great spent Elsewhere, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it anywhere else.