Middlesbrough four-piece Set Your Sights are seemingly a collection of musicians who enjoy the virtue of energetic, in your face, pop-punk. They’re also a band in a productive creative roll which isn’t a bad combination to be in when you think about it.
Arriving at the o2, in part, to promote new single ‘Now You Don’t’, Set Your Sights has followed up recent releases ‘Show and Tell’ and ‘Can You Feel It?’ with another well-constructed, imaginative, radio-friendly track.
Energetic from start to finish, the live version of Set Your Sights hinges around several key elements, including pounding drumming from sticksman ‘Haz’ Casson, precise backing vocals from Roy Myers and a well-marshalled, locked-in, band sound. Nowhere is this demonstrated more finely than on ‘Can You Feel It?’ and ‘One day’, both of which mix a punk spirit with a post-punk insightfulness and strong pop melodies. Both tracks also benefit from a slightly faster, slightly harder sound than on their recorded versions, perhaps giving an indication of the band’s next steps in the recording studio.
Lead vocalist Alex Smith spends the night bouncing, throwing emotion into the lyrics and providing wise-cracks. A cover of Blink’s ‘Dammit’ is done justice but the highlight of the evening is, as expected, ‘Now You Don’t’ which is given full intensity by the band and sets a good benchmark for their own songwriting and performance standards. Where Set Your Sights go next will be interesting to watch, and, on current form, will be good for the local scene.
Giving credit where it’s due, it’s also important to recognise all of the bands on this evenings bill, all of whom created an excellent evening of entertainment. Kahuna and Lost in the Crowd were both excellent, though slightly out-muscled by Fire Lady luck who seemed to go over their allotted time and got lost in the moment with their own version of pop-punk.