March 15, 2016 Set It Off & Tonight Alive Triumph In NYC 3-5-16 w/ The Ready Set & SayWeCanFly
Those looking for the next big match up, The Fight For Something Tour is one of early 2016’s hottest tickets. Starting on March 1st and running through April 6th, the North American run see co-headliners Set it Off and Tonight Alive team up with The Ready Set and SayWeCanFly for four rounds of exhilarating Rock music. All unique to themselves, the lineup of bands have all traveled a similar road to success, touring regularly around the world building their names with fans of all ages. Only five dates into this heavyweight run, New York City was the backdrop as the bands made their way to Irving Plaza on Saturday March 5th with a revved up, sold out crowd ready for the night of action.
Kicking things off was Epitaph Records Braden Barrie, who has been performing under the stage name SayWeCanFly since 2009. Recently releasing his latest EP, Darling, in October of 2015, this opening slot on The Fight For Something Tour was a perfect way to help spread the word of this talented artist.
At only twenty years of age, the Ontario, Canada native knew exactly what to do to get the crowd excited, starting the show off performing his latest single, “Darling.” Already having the audience clapping along, during his next song, “Song of the Sparrow,” everyone joined in a sing along. It was quite impressive to see how into SayWeCanFly the room was, and before the song “When I Come Home,” Barrie encouraged everyone to get close to who they love. Once that song was over, the band left the stage and Braden was alone under the spotlight with just his guitar. Performing, acoustically, “The Distance That Took You Away,” many spectators held up their cellphones and it was a sea of lights all around. After this, the backing band returned and Braden encouraged the crowd to check them out on YouTube, and to pick up a copy of his latest EP before performing “Intoxicated I Love You” to end the set. Enticing everyone to sing with him, Braden had them screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. A bright and powerful opening spot, SayWeCanFly had Irving Plaza ready for round two of the night.
That round 2 bout would see Fort Wayne, Indiana’s The Ready Set come to the stage. Formed in 2009 by Vocalist/Guitarist Jordan Mark Witzigreuter, The Ready Set has become a household name over the course of two major label studio albums, while preparing to release their third on April 8th, entitled I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love.
Followed out by his touring band of Drummer Travis Rountree, Bassist Shaughn Adamski, along with Guitarists Mike Naran and Cameron Walker, Witzigreuter, better known by his stage name The Ready Set, came out on stage, ready to go. Completely pumped up to be in New York City, The Ready Set began with “Higher” and never let up as they were about to take this crowd by storm. Between jumping and clapping, exhibited by both the crowd and The Ready Set, there was tons of energy throughout the venue. Once that song finished, Witzigreuter hit the crowd with a fan-favorite, “Love Like Woe,” igniting insanity. Between the palm trees in the background of the stage, the lights, and the emotion being given off from the performers, the crowd on the floor was screaming the lyrics from the top of their lungs. Moving into newer music, they went into “Disappearing Act,” and it was also a hit as the dance party continued.
Taking a quick breather, Witzigreuter informed the crowd that I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love was set for release. With that, he performed the latest single, “Good Enough,” to give the crowd a taste of what to look forward to on the album. Bringing the tempo down slightly, the crowd quickly started to hum along once the chorus kicked in. Then came The Ready Set’s final song,“ Give Me Your Hand,” a fitting way to stir up the adrenaline for Tonight Alive. With the floor shaking, the vibe in the room was intense and the band clearly fed off of it all. Be sure to check out The Ready Set on this tour, and also, do not miss Witzigreuter’s side project with The Summer Set’s Jess Bowen as they team up for one called Nekokat.
Primed for the main event, the first of the co-headliners was Sydney, Australian natives known to all as Tonight Alive. Together since 2008, Tonight Alive has been on some of the biggest tours in Australia and North America since, including more recently The Future Hearts tour with All Time Low, Issues, and State Champs last Spring. Welcomed back to New York City for the first time since that run, Drummer Matt Best, Lead Guitarist Whakaio Taahi, Rhythm Guitarist Jake Hardy, Bassist Cam Adler, and Vocalist Jenna McDougall were ready to put on one killer show.
Releasing their third studio album, Limitless, 24 hours prior, the stop in New York City was extra special as they began with second single from the album, “To Be Free.” As soon as the music started, the crowd was singing along and McDougall was loving it as she stood on the monitors, feeding off the positivity. Next, the band took the crowd back to 2013’s The Other Side with “The Fire” as McDougall provoked everyone to move along. With that, the crowd-surfing began and everyone’s hands were in the air as the stage was lit up with lights and smoke creating the perfect atmosphere.
Moving on to “The Ocean,” as soon as the guitars rang in, everyone began screaming the lyrics as McDougall let them take the lead. Herself, Taahi, and Hardy now all stood upon the floor monitors as the house lights shined on the crowd as everyone was in bliss. Once this song ended, Taahi stroked the chords for “Listening” and the clapping began. Followed by the intensity of Best’s drumming, the room was once again shaking. Welcoming the crowd to the show, McDougall also thanked them for their support.
Slowing the mood down a bit, “Amelia” was a cut McDougall dedicated to those whom we keep in our hearts. The mellowness continued with the playing of “Bathwater,” and as the song went on, the audience began to unleash more noise before Tonight Alive paused, allowing everyone to go wild. Thereafter, all the members of the band, except McDougall and Taahi, exited the stage as the vocalist mentioned that, on this tour, she wanted to play what the fans wanted to hear, so she was going to be taking requests. Everyone of course shouted out their top song picks and, all smiles, McDougall and Taahi went into acoustic renditions of “Complexes” and “Safe and Sound.” Settling down to the soothing voice of McDougall, the entire band returned to play the first single off Limitless, “Human Interaction.” With everyone still singing and dancing along, “The Edge” kept it all going. Playful with the audience, McDougall wanted everyone to give her a “YAAAS QUEEN!” before getting serious and conveying how thankful she was for the Tonight Alive fans and hearing stories of how the band’s music has touched others. She then stated to the crowd, “If you don’t believe your life has purpose, you’re fucking lying to yourself.” Then she followed with, “no matter what age, you always need to say, I always have a say.” Inspirational and uplifting, the room cheered loudly before “Wasting Away” had more crowd-surfers in the air.
Winding down the set, they performed their newest single “Drive,” one which McDougall told the crowd was about New Jersey, where the album was written. Interestingly enough, it is a song that almost did not make the album, but Producer David Bendeth convinced the band to include it. Wanting to end the night on a high note, McDougall put the crowd to the test by asking them to repeat the notes she sang. After doing this a few times, the band surprised them with another new track, “How Does It Feel?” With everyone delighted, once this song concluded, McDougall asked if there were, “Any lonely boys in here?” Then, if there were, “Any lonely girls?” It was the perfect segue into “Lonely Girl,” and a fantastic way to end their performance. Their set proved Tonight Alive are one of the best bands to see live.
After a brief intermission, it was time for the last band of the night, Set it Off. Come together in 2008 down in Tampa, Florida, Set it Off broke the Billboard 200 with their 2012 debut album, Cinematics, and again in 2015 with Duality. Now ready to take things to the next level, the band has been rattling stages coast to coast on The Fight For Something Tour. Returning to New York City for the first time since April 2, 2015, when they played Webster Hall, the crowd at Irving Plaza was not at all fatigued from the three rounds prior and were ready to go the distance with Set it Off.
As soon as the lights went down, the screams started, and one by one, Maxx Danziger (drums), Zach DeWall (bass/guitar), Dan Clermont (guitar), and last but not least, Cody Carson (vocals) made their way to the stage. Carson started to sing “Forever Stuck in Our Youth,” and his voice was absolutely flawless. Connecting immediately with the fans, each member of the band utilized the entire stage to move around and hype things up. Next came “Ancient History,” where Carson had everyone bouncing up and down before Clermont came in with a killer guitar solo. As this song ended, the set darkened and Carson drew the attention of everyone in by starting to sing the mesmerizing lyrics of “The Haunting.” Once the tempo picked up, smoked emerged and everyone lost it as Carson reached into the sea of people, microphone in hand, singing on the barricades before jumping into the crowd.
Once Carson made his way back to the stage after his crowd-surfing session, “N.M.E” came before he spoke about how the world needed equality, then continued with “Wild Wild World.” Mellowing the mood out, the crowd put their cell phones in the air as Clermont switched from playing the guitar to keyboard. After this amazing performance Carson reflected on the band’s past, stating how the first time they ever played in New York City, it was at Santos Party House in front of five people. Now they were playing a sold out, headlining show at Irving Plaza, making it a very special night for the band. Emotionally taken back, Carson encouraged the crowd to chase after their dreams and to prove the people that do not believe in them wrong.
Keeping the room fully engaged, Set it Off played on with songs like “Dream Catcher,” where everyone threw their diamonds in the sky. Giving the audience sense of empowerment, and belonging, before singing the chorus, Carson counted down from 3, and as soon as he said 3, the crowd all sang the chorus together. Introducing “Tomorrow” as a sequel to “Dream Catcher,” Carson told everyone the song was about taking opportunities in life seriously, and doing something with them. The words did not fall on deaf ears as everyone threw their hands in the air as Carson once more found his way into the crowd for a giant group hug. Returning to the stage, Carson grabbed his acoustic guitar and they went into “Bleak December,” taking the show to a new level as no one stood still on the floor. Then, the last song before the encore was “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” as everyone let loose and Carson again made his way down the barricade to join in the fun.
With the band making their way off stage, everyone was chanting “Set It Off,” begging for an encore. That all began with “Swan Song,” but New York City wanted more. They screamed each and every word as energy was exchanged between the crowd and band as everyone held up their diamonds again. Carson, overwhelmed, thanked everyone for being like family before going into their finale, “Why Worry.” Counting down for everyone to start jumping, there was not a single foot left on the ground, and before the chorus hit, Carson requested everyone to crouch to the floor. Almost like a exercise routine, after the count of three, everyone was going to jump up and sing the lyrics for an epic ending to the night.
To say The Fight for Something Tour is one incredible night is an understatement. Each act showcased high energy, stirred up amazing crowd interaction, and created an overall fun night. Living in a world with so much negativity, it is refreshing to see young bands with a positive message, one of self-worth and hope. With that said, go toe to toe with SayWeCanFly, The Ready Set, Tonight Alive, and Set it Off, it will not disappoint.