Set Your Goals, Mixtapes, Eager Teeth & Leopards
Manchester Moho, 9th of August 2012
Over here in the UK, summer shows almost always have a poor turnout. This show was no different, but what the crowd lacked in number was more than made up for by the verve and vigour of the bands. Make no mistake - they were there to have a ball.
We arrived just in time to catch the end of Leopards' set, who impressed with their distinctive brand of driving, female-fronted rock. Eager Teeth are another very impressive young, English band. Their rugged, hook-ridden punk visibly impressed even through murky sound and the edgy "Lights Out" would slay crowds double this size.
Up next was everybody's favourite ridiculously talented / woefully inept band, Ohio's Mixtapes. I don't think it's unfair to say that there weren't many in the crowd interested in their set to begin with, but over the course of an enthusiastic half-hour they gradually bring people in with their irreverent on-stage banter and sheer energy. It also doesn't hurt that in Maps and Even On The Worst Nights they have two of the most accessible pop punk records in recent years, with a breakneck run through "Hope Springs Eternal" and the twinkling "Seven Mile" clear highlights. Apart, that is, from a rousing stomp through Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag" with members of Eager Teeth and Set Your Goals.
Set Your Goals' set had most things, ranging from huge gang vocals and scores of stagedives to a shirtless stage invader who grabbed a mic and ripped through a freestyle to universal cries of "what?!". Yeah, it was one of those nights.
It all started normally enough - a powerful volley of "Summer Jam", "The Few That Remain" and "Echoes" got the so-far static crowd up on their feet and moving - but the band really came into their own in the final third of their set. A savage run through "Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)" and "I'll Walk It Off" (one of the best songs they've ever written - fight me) brought the crowdsurfers forwards and had the band their top, most clinical gear.
The obligatory stage invasion at the end of an exuberant jaunt through "Mutiny" showed the night for what it was; a room of people intent on having the most fun possible