Set Your Goals - live in Northampton (Cover Artwork)

Set Your Goals

live in Northampton (2010)

live show

1. something that cannot be missed.

Everyone has their own set of circumstances that would make a show unmissable, but there's a good chance this will work for a lot of people: Take a band that released a great first record, utterly blew up and then released a pretty weak second record. Mix in a disappointing festival experience where you watch said band play too many songs you don't really like from about 30 feet away, surrounded by totally bro dudes waiting for Four Year Strong to come on stage. Bring them back a few months later as the opening act for a much larger band who have enough gaps in their touring schedule for the openers to do a few headline shows of their own. Put them in a 150-capacity room with no stage, cram it full to the roof and have them play their first album from start to finish. This is what happened with Set Your Goals and Mutiny!. Unmissable.

Opening act A Major Motion Picture wore their influences on their sleeve, and the headliners were definitely among them. Think early Wonder Years without the tacky synths; plenty of gang shouts and straight-up fun that did not make the wait for the oncoming spectacle drag in the least, which is not as backhanded a compliment as it may appear.

A crowd of exciting kids piled into the tiny venue as the bands fought through to change the gear over, and took off when Set Your Goals finally began playing. Opening with "Goonies" and "Latch Key" from the Reset EP, Matt Wilson and Jordan Brown were immediately up on the monitors, thrusting their mics into the mass as crowdsurfers began to fly by. Next came a handful of the best songs from This Will Be the Death of Us, starting with "The Fallen," which kick-started the parts of the crowd that hadn't yet got on board, followed by "Gaia Bleeds," "Summer Jam" and some other obviously less memorable track. It wasn't really all that important, anyway, as the show was about to get going for real as the opening of "Work in Progress" was accompanied by the crowd bellowing every word back at the band, who looked surprisingly happy to be backed into a corner. They were clearly so much more in their element here than on huge stages behind metal barriers, and it showed as they threw themselves into the songs and into the sweating and heaving crowd.

One of the best things about Mutiny! is the album's cohesiveness; the songs fit together perfectly, often segueing in to one another, which obviously paid off so much better here than at other live shows. "Work in Progress" gave way seamlessly to "We Do It for the Money, OBVIOUSLY!", but even better was the usually-neglected intros "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Don't Let This Win Over You," allowing for incredible pirate-themed sing-alongs. Towards the second half of the album and the end of the set, the crowd were spilling into the band, the mic was being grabbed from the singers' hands and Matt Wilson had been picked up and thrown above the heads of the pit. Everything came to a head with "Echoes" as the room erupted to the epic closer, the venue walls dripping with sweat.

Set Your Goals were on top form--it sounded like they played the whole album every night. It was an inspired move, as Mutiny! transferred to the live environment of that cramped little room completely flawlessly...the perfect way to see a band doing what they do best.