At some live shows, the connection between a band and their fans is tangible. Sustained by the venue’s atmosphere, the act’s willingness, and the crowd’s response, these concerts integrate performance and experience, uniting a space into a single encapsulation of energy. Tampa-natives Set It Off successfully blurred that line between performers and audience last Thursday with an impressive start of this year’s Glamour Kills “Spring Break” tour.
By sponsoring everyone who’s anyone in the scene, indie clothing label Glamour Kills provides the unique ability to dress like favorite musicians, again traversing that gap among fans and bands. Glamour Kills emphasizes the blend of music and style by annually hosting their own tour, headlined in the past by The Wonder Years, We Are The In Crowd, and Mayday Parade.
The Orpheum is a really cool venue. An exposed brick exterior bleeds into a wooden interior, framing the stage as a focal point and merging the concert hall setting with a private club feel. Up-and-coming locals Airsickness opened the show. By immediately beginning their set with crowd engagement, charismatic frontman Owen Jago established a good mood for the rest of the strong performance. The band will be back headlining The Orpheum on Sat., March 28 for the release of their EP Between All the Lies.
UK pop-punkers As It Is followed with a fun, bouncy, and exciting set. Lead singer Patty Walters commanded the stage with his My Chemical Romance shirt and endless energy, jumping, running, and involving the crowd constantly. After recording their debut album in Florida last October, this show marked an important milestone for the newcomers: their first time performing in America. Walters revealed to the Catalyst about the band’s groundbreaking experience.
“For any UK pop-punk band, to play anywhere in America, is a dream, so to do it alongside Against The Current and Set It Off on the Glamour Kills tour is surreal,” he said. “It was beyond our expectations, and we had a brilliant freaking time.”
New Yorkers Against The Current continued the night of career benchmarks with their first show in Tampa. Lead singer Chrissy Costanza did a great job entertaining the crowd. Their cover of “Uptown Funk” featuring Set It Off frontman Cody Carson, recently posted on the band’s YouTube channel, was the centerpiece of the overall solid set.
Set It Off haven’t played a hometown show since May of last year, adding to the evening’s exhilaration. Orpheum owner and alum (‘89) Jerry Dufrain told the Catalyst in an email interview about welcoming back the band.
“I always look forward to their shows at the Orpheum because it feels like homecoming. This time Set It Off are just returning from a successful tour of Europe and they are going out on what I think is their biggest most high profile headlining tour,” he said. “So there is an air of excitement for this show.”
Set It Off, once again, exceeded all expectations. “Forever Stuck in Our Youth,” the perfect song to start a set on the “Spring Break” tour, captured the quintessential, carefree “live while you’re young” mentality in a chorus that proclaims “I’m on a permanent vacation” and “I don’t owe an explanation.” The performance contained newer material, understandable since their newest album Duality is still so fresh, but not without throwing in some oldies to satisfy demands of the more seasoned fans. During “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” for example, the house went crazy as frontman Carson did his signature “crowd walk” where he literally, as the title says, walks on the crowd.
Early into the show, before playing the vibrant song, Carson notified the crowd of the band’s newest music video for “Ancient History” by thanking director and longtime friend Freddy Marschall.
“We had 150 plus Set It Off fans on set, and they were cooperative,” Marschall, Tampa cinematographer, informed the Catalyst about the music video. “They seemed to be very down to earth fans that would do anything to help the band.”
One of those extras was avid Set It Off fan, and sister of the author, Charlotte Ralph. “The exhilarating feeling of walking onto your favorite band’s set for a music video is one you’ll never forget,” she said. “With Set It Off being so grateful and kind about each and everyone of us coming, it soothed the nerves and made the experience just that much better.”
Another extra, Carrigan Vanboekhout, commented on the music video process as well. “It was well made and put together nicely,” she said. “The guys were very sweet and everyone was really cooperative.”
“The band has done a very good job at making the fans feel like they are a part of all the band’s endeavors,” Marschall continued.
This fact was apparent by Set It Off’s performance, particularly for the anthem “Dream Catcher” and its follow-up “Tomorrow,” which featured a duet with Against The Current frontwoman Costanza. In accordance with the songs’ inspiring lyrics, Carson spits a bitingly salient speech, encouraging the crowd to follow their dreams and write their future with tenacity, devotion, and perseverance, just like they did, no matter the obstacles. For kids who may not have the luxury of hearing those powerful words in their personal lives, the message is representative of the important impact musicians can have on their fan base.
Dufrain touched on Set It Off’s example of hard work and success that Carson referenced. “It feels like the guys are on the brink of really breaking through after years of hard work,” he said. “I’m glad the Orpheum can be a small part of that.”
To many, Set It Off are role models.
“I personally can relate to a lot of Set It Off’s music and lyrics,” Vanboekhout said. “I feel like they get me more than anyone else.”
“If you’re going through a hard time Set it Off is that that little glimmer of hope in the distance,” Ralph said. “They give you a sense that you are loved and there is always someone there who cares.”
“I think that they still have a lot more to achieve and it has always been a pleasure to see them grow and to see their fans grow with them,” Dufrain continued.
After an explosive rock cover of Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” the main set ended with “Miss Mysterious,” Carson’s first time playing the piano to that caliber of an audience. The encore began with a special acoustic melody of “Swan Song” and, a personal favorite, “Horrible Kids” by Carson and guitarist Dan Clermont. After a night full of crowd surfers and stage divers, Set It Off ended with their most popular single off Duality, “Why Worry,” escalating the energy in the room to an indescribable level. The band always seems sincerely starstruck by their increasing popularity. Playing in Tampa causes Carson to forget his words on stage, leaving him speechless.
“I hadn’t really listened to any of the bands much before the concert, but it was still so much fun, and I want to listen to them more now. All the bands were full of energy and played really well,” Glamour Kills tour attendee and first-year transfer Addie Allen said. “I definitely want to see Set It Off again. They were the highlight of the show for sure!“
“I have been booking the boys in Set It Off since some of them were in high school,” Dufrain said. “It is one of the most gratifying professional experiences in my life to see a young hungry bunch of kids grow into the national touring unit that they are today.”
“Working with bands and artists and watching them develop and evolve is one of the many perks of this job,” Dufrain added.
From pop-punkers Airsickness and As It Is to pop-rockers Against The Current and Set It Off, the Glamour Kills tour boasted a diverse bill of new acts that all have the potential, a combination of looks and hooks, to dominate the scene in the next few years. Each valued the importance of crowd engagement and interaction, resulting in a show that everyone, fans and bands alike, will remember for a while.
“Set It Off’s music inspires all to keep moving forward even if going backwards seems the easy way,” Ralph said.
Find the Orpheum online at http://www.theorpheum.com, which includes links to all their active social media accounts and upcoming concerts like Sage Francis on April 19 and The Story So Far on May 28.
Find Freddy Marschall’s work on www.finalshotstudios.com and Cody Carson’s YouTube channel, and follow him on Instagram @freddymarschall. The new music video for “Ancient History” can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_afzjFQXZho.