Last Thursday, pop punk veterans, Set Your Goals, returned to Boston having recently come off a lengthy hiatus to tour, reissue, and celebrate the tenth anniversary of their 2006 debut LP, “Mutiny!”
The band spent many of its early years playing endless shows all over the country and world and amassed a massive following within the pop punk realm thanks to their positive attitudes, energized performances, and inclusive ethics.
Beginning the show was Zac Einstein, formerly of pop punk heavyweights, Man Overboard, performing an acoustic set as the moniker, Bright Green. Einstein recently released his first EP at Bright Green called, “the Highs are Getting Lower.”
Einstein played a couple tracks from this incredibly personal six-song EP to the few folks in the crowd who showed up early enough to catch his performance. Fans of Man Overboard who haven’t checked out Bright Green will be in for a surprise because the subdued acoustic tunes are nothing like the lively pop punk rambunctiousness of Man Overboard fame.
Up next were the alt-emo rockers in Can’t Swim. The band released a fantastic new EP earlier this year called, “Death Deserves a Name.” From the first song, the band had the crowd sucked in. I even walked over to the merch table during their set to make sure I could snag a copy of the new EP on vinyl before there was a crowd.
Can’t Swim meshes emo sensibilities with the aggression of a hardcore band. While still young, the band has found great a balance to their heaviness with moments of delicate care and comfort—reminiscent to that of Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, and/or Have Mercy.
All of the bands on the bill made sure to note that the tour wouldn’t have been possible without Toronto’s pop punk princes, Like Pacific. The band offered their entire array of amps and rigs for the other bands to use—thus shortening switch-over time, and loads the other bands would have to lug city-to-city.
This was my second time checking out Like Pacific this year, and each time, the band has put on an active and engaging set. Vocalist, Jordan Black, is maturing into a confident front man, as he does not mince words with the crowd, nor does he necessarily aim to please them.
Black simply gives it everything he has—whether that be dabbing mid-song, or jumping into the crowd to mosh with them and eventually return to the stage. The man just likes to have fun up there.
Our penultimate act for the evening was the alt-emo stylings of Misser, who are also coming off of a slight hiatus. So there was a great amount of the crowd fully hyped for this set, which was choked full of jams off their 2012 LP, “Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person,” and the 2013 EP, “Distancing.”
Misser was the perfect band to get the crowd energized right before the headliners, as the band is an amalgam of all the sounds heard from the previous bands and even traces of Set Your Goals. Seeing as pop punk branched from the hardcore scene back in the day, it’s lived on through bands tweaking and refining the sound to be something more than it was, considering what it could be.
This is what Misser does on stage and with its music—bringing the energy and positivity of pop punk with a twinge of aggression that can be clearly attributed to the fact that the band is fronted by members of two veteran pop punk bands, Transit (Tim Landers) and This Time Next Year (Brad Wiseman). Both men have been around a time or two and have clearly learned how to create something unique and special in the pop punk realm.
And then unceremoniously, Set Your Goals took to the stage—six dudes sort of sauntered onto the stage and starting talking. It was as if they owned the room.
Before beginning, vocalist, Matt Wilson, told the audience they were excited to play “Mutiny!” in its entirety, but that they would be playing a bunch of other tracks first. This certainly came as a surprise to the crowd, but everyone exploding with energy the second the band starting playing, “Start the Reactor,” off the band’s 2011 LP, “Burning at Both Ends.”
After eight songs into the set, the band transitioned into playing “Mutiny!” Before literally jumping into the opening track, “Work in Progress,” vocalist, Jordan Brown explained the inspiration for the song—saying it was a blatant metaphor for the band and its standing when the album was under construction, and its still stands true today. They’re all still a work in progress—the crowd cheered and commenced pouring their souls out as they gave everything they had to the entire length of the album played live in front of their faces.
As the show went on, the energy of the room was only match by the energy being exerted by both vocalists—yes, if you’re keeping track at home, both—Brown and Wilson, as they navigated the stage, and even within the crowd. Both perform as audience conductors, instructing the crowd how and when to move, and doing it all with the zest of spry high school dudes playing in front of their friends.
Because that’s exactly what it felt like—it felt like everyone was comfortable and willing to have a fun time and celebrate music. Set Your Goals brought down a packed house at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The band filled the room with positive energy, excitement, and plenty of silly string and toilet paper. It was a party that kept the crowd moving, smiling, and clearly eager for another Set Your Goals album.
Your move, boys.
The band recently reissued Mutiny! in a number of variants, the one on their official website is a seafoam green marble pressing /500. This is a tour variant, as well as the Kraken purple /500 tour variant.