I was a little nervous as I made my way out to The Myth in Maplewood on Tuesday night. It was my first time at the venue post-pandemic and I was about to photograph some of the bands that truly made me who I am today. Yeah, the nerves were jumping around in my body but, as soon as I entered the familiar setting and saw some familiar faces working security, I calmed down and the nerves quickly turned into excitement.
Set It Off got the night started promptly at 7 PM. Based in Tampa, Florida, this band is one of those that I had been wanting to see live for quite a while. Their sound is very in the vein of the pop-punk music I grew up with but there’s something fresh about it. There’s this hint of an almost theatrical edge in their music that has always made them stand out in the over-saturated pop-punk market and I was thrilled as I got to see that all play out on the stage just inches from my face. Vocalist Cody Carson is a true performer. He isn’t over the top or anything but the way he would leap between the platforms lining the front of the stage to the way he would engage the audience was great. He did a perfect job of making sure you would remember Set It Off’s name even if you were not there to see them (which was the case for the majority of the crowd). With a flawless forty-minute set, Set It Off did a great job opening for two true legends. They held their own, carved a space for themselves in the hearts and minds of everyone in the audience, and blew me away with their flawless sound and energy. Set It Off is not a new band in any way but they are a band that I expect huge things from yet this year.
Although there were definitely moments throughout their set that were full of emotion and power, there were also moments that had the audience roaring in laughter while pushing and shoving their way through the set. One of those moments was when vocalist Pierre Bouvier switched spots with drummer Chuck Comeau. With Pierre behind the drums, Chuck commanded the crowd through the microphone and I instantly started thinking that this guy could easily be the singer of a band. He just had a way with the audience and that was only magnified as he teased the crowd with the idea of him going into the crowd for a bit. He backtracked after saying that explaining that, because of the ongoing pandemic, the band collectively decided that him going into crowds every night would not be the best idea but his thought on the matter was “F&%$ that!” and, after being suited up in a hazmat suite complete with gasmask, Chuck lept into the crowd. Staged and scripted? Absolutely but what a fun moment for everyone in the audience.
Sum 41’s music is a bit more aggressive and in your face than that of Simple Plan so it was no surprise as the band blasted onto the stage and instantly got the audience worked up and creating a sweaty mess of a pit. This more intense (although not super intense) sound was definitely my preferred genre when I was an angsty teenager so, although I was trying to get some photos as the first couple of songs played, I found myself completely forgetting where I was, getting lost in a cloud of nostalgia, and just screaming along to the words. Kicking their set off with “Motivation” before playing through another 19 tracks that span the impressive career of this band, there wasn’t a single moment where the energy on the stage or in the audience faltered. It was just hit after hit and the audience was clearly ready to take those hits and run with them (in the form of a small circle pit that had formed in the audience). From originals to covers including an amazing one of “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, Sum 41 had the packed house in the palm of their hands the entire time and I found myself lost in it all.
I truly wish I had more to say about the Tuesday night show but I just find myself lost for words. So much has changed over the past twenty years yet these bands have stayed a constant in not only my life, but the lives of so many people. That’s the biggest take away from the show and, although I was lost in a cloud of nostalgia throughout the night, there will be no forgetting that concert any time soon.