Set Your Goals – Leeds Cockpit

By Spud

PT vs Slam Dunk; UK vs USA gig
Cockpit, Leeds
Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, All Or Nothing, Me vs Hero

Geography trivia, awkward login-based introductions and plenty of drinking. That’s what seems to characterise a gig that Punktastic is involved with these days. All very surreal.

The fact this gig was a sell-out and the queue was still being worked meant that the room wasn’t full when Me vs Hero started, but they quickly ripped into their PT Recs-released tracks with aplomb. Cue big singalongs from the 50 people at the front and some shaky-looking human pyramids. The tone obviously had a sombre note to it with guitarist Alex McCulloch having passed away in August. This didn’t stop a decent performance which went down very well with those who were familiar with the band, but this was probably the weakest performance of the three occasions that I’ve seen MvH. A few mix issues and some vocal weaknesses were the primary culprits, but a landmark gig for them nonetheless. (6)

All Or Nothing continue to cement their reputation as a force to be reckoned with on the UK’s polished-pop-punk scene. Building on their recent (ish) glowing review from PT, they delivered a tight set, though it was markedly less well received than the band appearing before them. I wasn’t familiar with much of it before they began but, sucking up the main band between every single song aside, this was an impressive display and will have certainly done them a few favours in terms of winning new fans. (8)

The North Americans were now brought on to really get things going and Four Year Strong resonate wildly in the now-rammed Cockpit. Their frontman, resembling a vintage W.G. Grace, has an immense frame and an equally immense stage presence, giving a lesson to the semi-timid acts who had appeared before him. This was the second time I’d seen FYS, and though the selection of songs was fair and their delivery was at least competent, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the use of their synth in their live sets. It feels far too tacked-on and leaves its player and some-time vocalist as sort of a bit-part player. Although they were playing to the converted, it’s fair to say they went down like a cake at a Weightwatchers meet. (8)

And onto the night’s headliners, Set Your Goals. The one thing I must point out in this review is the marked improvements in their live performance. That’s the third time I’ve seen them now I think and they’ve improved phenomenally; a huge maturation for a band. Their mini vocalist still looks completely awkward in his own skin, but his binary opposition to his partner is part of the appeal, I guess. It’s about bloody time they released something new, though, instead of 329 wax versions of 2-year-old records. (9)