Set Your Goals

While I’ve been to quite a few shows this summer, I’ve basically gone through without shooting a single one. That is until the Gig Life Tour steam-rolled through SoCal. With three bands I’ve been really excited about (Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, and Polar Bear Club) topping the list of a sold out show, I knew I was in for a crazy refresher in concert photography.

First up for my night was Fireworks. I’ve only heard a few songs from this band before tonight, but they put on a great show! These guys have a lot of energy and really throw it all out on stage. The crowd response hinted of a pretty good-sized following as fans joined in to sing along and shake things up on the other side of the stage. Stage presence is no problem for this band (they even have a photo album dedicated to live-show jumps on myspace!) and neither is delivering good old pop-punk that’s sure to bring you off your feet.

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Up next was 1/3 of the reason I came to the show: Polar Bear Club. If you look back, their show in Anaheim was the last concert post I wrote up. It was great to catch up with some of the guys before and after the show. I love talking to them because their success continues to grow between every show I see them at, and they’re genuinely excited about everything that’s coming their way. Polar Bear Club really loves what they’re doing and it shows in their live performance.

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They honestly seemed out of place in regards to the fanbase in attendance, but that didn’t stop them from putting on another great show. The large pack singing along front and center made sure that they felt welcome and at home. Polar Bear Club played a few new songs off of the record Chasing Hamburg which releases on September 8th. The new songs make good on the promise of being faster and more upbeat and thus were a great lead-in for the next two bands.

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Four Year Strong took the stage next and continued the high energy flow of the night. The excitement level flew off of the charts, just ask my fellow photographers that got smashed against the stage as security caught incoming crowd surfers! Keyboardist Josh Lyford wasted no time jumping onto the security barrier to get face-to-face with fans. Lyford led the crowd sing-along while the rest of the band handled vocal harmonies on stage. Of course, when the band went into songs from their recently released 90’s cover album Four Year Strong Explains It All, no help was needed to get the crowd involved.

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Further back into the audience pits were forming and I’m surprised the building didn’t collapse from the chaos in the crowd. Despite a couple of injuries I witnessed, everyone inside was having a great time. From the front to the back people were singing along, throwing their hands up in time with the music… there was just a great connection between everyone in the room.

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California super heroes Set Your Goals closed out the night to a very anxious audience. Although they’re from NorCal, SoCal crowds always seem to embrace this band as their own. I’ve seen Set Your Goals quite a few times live and they’ve never disappointed me. From start to finish, their whole performance is about the fans and being connected to them. They’ve built their fanbase from the ground up with good old fashioned touring, so their experience level definitely shows on stage.

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They took command of that stage but it might as well have not existed. Vocalist Jordan Brown shouted, “This barrier means nothing! This is our show!” Everytime I’ve seen them, Brown always makes sure that everyone knows the band doesn’t see themselves as being above the fans. Everyone is the same; everyone is there for a good time. They made Glasshouse’s security work tonight! The fans in attendance of this sold out show definitely got their money’s worth. When they launched into the new song “Gaia Bleeds” (featured on the Madden ’10 soundtrack), the Glasshouse just about exploded. The crowd got really rowdy but everyone was enjoying themselves.

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Set Your Goals is loving their musical experience. They always make sure to thank the people behind their success and never stop showing love for their fans. Set Your Goals’ latest album This Will Be The Death Of Us is available in stores now. Pick it up!

Special thanks to Austin from Epitaph for hooking me up once again. Thanks to the Glasshouse for hosting and for all the people working behind the scenes who put together such a great show for us!