Boy Sets Fire / Defeater

Boy Sets Fire / Defeater: live in New Yorklive in New York (2011)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Couldn't get there in time to see the May 4th Massacre, who actually include a few of Boy Sets Fire's members' sons. True story. Defeater was pretty perfect as direct support. The hardcore act themselves have plenty of progressive and post-hardcore elements about their sound that made them a grea.

Couldn't get there in time to see the May 4th Massacre, who actually include a few of Boy Sets Fire's members' sons. True story.

Defeater was pretty perfect as direct support. The hardcore act themselves have plenty of progressive and post-hardcore elements about their sound that made them a great fit as a "newer" act opening for a veteran post-hardcore act playing a big reunion show. It was admittedly weird to see such a stifled reaction to their set, compared to the flood of endless stage dives, pile-ons, and sing-alongs the band's garnered the last few times I've seen them (Krazy Fest; The Fest; Ruiner's last show). But they had a few dedicated fans parked up front and chanting along to Defeater's story songs of war-torn families and alcohol-fueled, emotional damage. They gave the same throat-wrenching, searing performance as always anyway, and at 34 minutes, it was longer for them than usual. They had a fill-in on bass who gelled greatly with them, into the performance and songs just as much as any of his bandmates.

Set list (8:15-8:49):

  1. The Red, White and Blues
  2. Warm Blood Rush
  3. Blessed Burden
  4. The Bite and Sting
  5. Empty Glass
  6. Prophet in Plain Clothes
  7. Home Ain't Never Home
  8. A Wound and a Scar
  9. Cowardice

I've seen boysetsfire just once before: A Long Island show in 2006 that came just two months before they announced their breakup. If you were at that particular show, the breakup announcement wouldn't have been surprising; the band's fanbase had seemed to wane over the years, and back at the 2006 show there were maybe 30 people watching their set, and even less were actually familiar with them. This was a completely different scenario: The 300-capacity Studio at Webster Hall was filled likely beyond its maximum occupancy, and many were losing their minds. The audience here felt like a strange, often sweaty and sloppy mix of bros, normals, ex-Warped Tour attendees and scattered, often cross-armed hardcore kids, but they all went off at some point, engaging the band through just about every song. Whether that meant grabbing frontman Nathan Gray and fighting for mic time, surfing above the crowd so high they'd be kicking the venue lights, or opening up the floor with various mosh forms (one dude literally looked like he was boxing in place), there was never really a dull moment.

Some live reviews might dwell too heavily on the set list itself, but this is one that warrants it, because the set list was just weird. They opened with two songs from the oft-maligned Tomorrow Come Today (2003)–a surprising way to kick things off given what I thought was a generally negative reaction to that record. But the crowd exploded for "Release the Dogs" and "Eviction Article", and the band would only play one more song from it, anyway ("Handful of Redemption"). It would also take BSF eight songs to break the surface of 2000's After the Eulogy, both my personal favorite of theirs and probably a majority of their fanbase's, too. Then, after playing "Twelve Step Hammer Program", they ignored AtE until the end, when they closed with four straight tracks from it. At one point in the set, they played nearly five consecutive songs from 2006's The Misery Index: Notes from the Plague Years, but smack in the middle of that was a(n admittedly really well-done and somehow fitting, falsetto and all) cover of Radiohead's "Electioneering" (off 1997's lauded OK Computer, of course). The Misery Index got the most love from the band with seven songs played overall; fair enough, since they broke up only months after that album's release and probably didn't get many opportunities to actually play its songs.

That being said, boysetsfire played quite well. Road-tested from their recent European trek, they played a fiery 76 minutes with impressive stamina and a looseness that didn't deter from the songs' individual performances. Even if I felt out of the loop with a handful of cuts (never heard Tomorrow Come Today, don't really intend to, and some of the really old songs like "Cavity" don't do much for me), it was a captivating show.

Set list (9:28-10:44):
  1. Release the Dogs
  2. Eviction Article
  3. Cavity
  4. Walk Astray
  5. In Hope
  6. Empire
  7. Pure
  8. Twelve Step Hammer Program
  9. With Cold Eyes
  10. Requiem
  11. The Misery Index
  12. Electioneering [Radiohead cover]
  13. Final Communiqué
  14. Falling Out Theme
  15. Handful of Redemption
  16. My Life in the Knife Trade
  17. The Force Majeure
  18. After the Eulogy
  19. Rookie


People who liked this also liked:
Saves the Day - Through Being CoolAlkaline Trio - From Here To InfirmaryLess Than Jake - Borders and BoundariesJawbreaker - Dear YouAt The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandPinhead Gunpowder - Shoot The MoonThe Clash - London CallingRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeSaves the Day - Can't Slow DownRx Bandits - Progress

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
skeetopunk01 (June 9, 2011)

TCT is a killer album! I've been listening to it a lot as of late. Hopefully they'll do some Nor-cal shows in the near future.

madaseel (June 9, 2011)

I LOVED boysetsfire back in the day, seeing them play tiny venues in and around Philly and DE, but I dont think I am alone in saying that a BSF reunion is a little premature. They petered out at the end, which by the way was only 5 years ago. Their music, which started out as poignant and raw, ended as irrelevant and pandering.

I need more time.

notfeelingcreative (June 9, 2011)

I'd love to see "Rookie" omitted in favor of "Across Five Years" once in a while.

danperrone (June 8, 2011)

TCT is decent in its own right, but not as a follow up to after the eulogy. honestly though, this is a pretty standard set for post-misery index BSF. "release the dogs" is their standard opener since TCT was released and nothing from after the eulogy really gets much love from the band (at least live) anymore aside from "still waiting for the punchline" and sometimes "unspoken request". i thought the show itself was a ton of fun, and bsf has always drawn fans from all walks of punk/hardcore, so it's usually a different mix. musically, they were on point...much tighter than the previous night at the troc (which was different but still a great time). i might have nixed "with cold eyes" or "empire" from the misery index and threw in "compassion" (which, if i recall, was the first song released from after the eulogy) but the show was still a blast. i was also surprised to see how small the venue was!

harekrishna (June 7, 2011)

would love a full US tour. the set list looks amazing.

Basboy (June 7, 2011)

I never knew Tomorrow Come Today was looked poorly upon by the fans. It's definitely my favorite album and except for Release the Dogs, I think every song on the album is pretty much fantastic.

SonicDefiance (June 7, 2011)

I completely agree. Tomorrow Comes Today was fucking epic. Just as political and fierce as their earlier releases. I was so pissed I missed this show. I wish they would pull out a full US tour after their European trip.

LeightonESmith (June 7, 2011)

I'm sorry to say it but you're a knob for not having heard Tomorrow Come Today. Stop being a sheep, listen to it and make up your own mind. I fucking love that album, its still way better than most of the shit out these days....

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