31.05.13. The Summer Set at Kings College London SU.
As part of their Wake Up and Be Awesome tour, Arizona based five-piece The Summer Set cross the pond to embark on their first UK headliner. On the penultimate night of the tour, their pop-rock party dropped anchor at London’s Kings College SU.
The crowd piled in, standing in wait as the first act of the night, Hampshire based five piece, Natives took to the stage. Rising from the ashes of Not Advised with a new name and new songs, Natives are gritty and raw. They played a thrashing set, singer James Thomas throwing himself around commanding both the stage and the audience. “I want to see this whole room getting down low”, shouted Thomas during the second song of the night. “When this song kicks back in we’re all going to jump up together, is that ok?” he asked when the crowd immediately oblige, and the answering scream said it all. As the song exploded and the crowd sprang up in unison, it felt like the tone of the night had been set. The band played tracks like Big Plans, the insanely catchy This Island, and treated us to a performance of their upcoming single Stand For Something.
Next up were pop four-some Action Item, and the welcoming scream that erupted as they emerged on to the stage was earsplitting. Hailing from New Jersey, and with support slots for the likes of Hot Chelle Rae, Boys Like Girls, and even Justin Bieber under their belts, these guys prove a big hit with the audience. Considering this is only the guys’ second time in London it’s not a reception to be sniffed at.
Sounding reminiscent of Maroon 5, their music is tuneful and packed full of great melodies. Action Item are definitely nearer the pop end of the spectrum but there is definitely a rock edge to their performance. Their set included Learn to Fly – which has a hook that promises to get stuck in your head for days – Last Day of Summer and their newest single, Brave.
Cag was lithe and graceful as he glided around the stage, the audience in the palm of his hand. There was definitely an old movie-star quality about the frontman as, on more than one occasion, he reached into the crowd to be met by dozens of hands trailing up his arm, as the gaggle surged forward to try to get closer to him. During set closer, a cover of Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding’s hit I Need Your Love, they got their wish as Cag hopped off-stage and sang to the throng. “Everybody jump”, shouted Cag in time for the track’s instrumental hook, and as the crowd fiercely bounced along to the beat enveloping him, it felt as though the party had definitely been started.
The gathering grew increasingly animated during the, rather lengthy, set-change. The excitement builds with the promise of our headliners’ arrival edging closer, and our pop-rock party animals were welcomed by a cacophony of piercing screams as they launched into their cheeky set opener, Fuck You Over. The band played an electrifying set from the get-go, including a good mix of songs from previous albums Love Like This and Everything’s Fine, as well as their newest offering, Legendary. Old favourites like Boys You Do (Get Back At You) and Must Be The Music got the throng bouncing up and down like crazed jack-in-a-boxes, and more recent tracks like Jukebox (Life Goes On), Rescue and Lightning in a Bottle, proved just as popular; the crowd hanging on to every word.
However, amidst the care-free party anthems that we have come to know and love The Summer Set for, it was an acoustic performance of delicate ballad, About A Girl that showed the band’s ability to write a great song and wholly capture an audience. In that moment, with the gaggle singing along to every word, the atmosphere became emotional and increasingly poignant.
Though true to form, the atmosphere was undoubtedly a fun one, with the quintet doing Tequila shots on stage at multiple times during the set, singer Brian Dales expressing his intense dislike for cider, and comparing the band’s American accents to the audience’s British ones. “Everything we say sounds not as cool as you guys,” said Dales before demonstrating the difference in which we say legendary, which is also the title of the band’s new album. But before launching into the title track Brian explained the inspiration behind the song.
“We were at a party, well not me these guys, because at the time they were a lot cooler than I was, I was anti-social and I’d just sit on my own watching re-runs of this show called ‘How I Met Your Mother’, and I sat there and I was like alright Brian you gotta get your shit together because no one likes you, at all. So that night this song was born and it changed my entire life so if there’s even an ounce of Peter Pan left inside anyone in this building please do not give up on that, for me, okay?” As they played, the message of the track was fiercely inspiring. “We all wanna be legendary to somebody.” I’m positive that after tonight The Summer Set are legendary to quite a few somebodies.
“We’re all here for the same reason, maybe there’s problems at home and for one night you came here to enjoy yourselves and enjoy eachother”… “This is a song about being the best version of yourself that you can be.” Says Brian by way of introducing the compelling and inspirational Maybe Tonight. But before the night drew to a close they kicked things back up a notch with performances of their addictive new single Boomerang, and explosive set closer, Chelsea. As Brian pointed his microphone at the crowd for the final time, and the closing line ‘I want more’ rung out into the air, it was a very fitting end to the night. This was one party nobody wanted to end.
*And just as a side note I’m aware that, for some reason, some of my speech marks are coming up closed when they should be open for the start of a quote. (“”) I don’t know why this is or how to fix it, I’ve tried going back in and changing them to how they should be but it just keeps converting back. Like I said I’m not sure why, Wordpress just appears to be being stubborn *shrugs haha but rest assured I do actually know how to use punctuation! 🙂