Set Your Goals and Cartel recently came though Chicago on their co-headline spring tour with Hit The Lights, Mixtapes and Super Prime. You can check out our review after the break.
The first band that performed was Super Prime, a three piece from Boston. I had never heard Super Prime before seeing this tour, but the band brought me back to the pop punk that was popular when I was in high school, which, consequently enough, consists of bands such as Cartel and Hit the Lights, among many others. They have the classic pop punk sound that seems to be fading out as the genre morphs a little. They are fast-paced for the most part and have the classic pop punk vocals that remind me of Blink. I see these guys getting big very soon as pop punk is making a tremendous comeback in rock music.
Mixtapes is a four piece consisting of Maura, Ryan, Boone, and Michael. They’re a breath of fresh air in the new pop punk scene. They are edgy, intense, and full of life. This band, from Cincinnati, Ohio, has two vocalists being Maura and Ryan. Maura is a powerhouse and something that was definitely needed in the pop punk scene. She’s an amazing vocalist and musician and is adorable! She is lucky to have such amazing musicians by her side, which makes the whole band extremely talented. The pairing of her and Ryan’s vocals is a great one, and they are worth a listen if you have never heard them.
The next band up was Hit the Lights. If you like pop punk, but have never heard of Hit the Lights, you must be living under a rock. This band has been around for years, putting out albums such as “This Is a Stick Up, Don’t Make It a Murder,” “Skip School, Start Fights,” and most recently, “Invicta.” This six piece from Lima, Ohio may be older than some of the newer bands in the pop punk scene, but they still can hold their own. In fact, they have a better stage presence than some of the newer, more popular pop punk bands, in my opinion (but I won’t name names). They played classics like “Drop the Girl” and “Bodybag,” which really got the crowd going. Their newer songs, “Earthquake” and “Gravity” had less of a response (typical for such new songs), but I enjoyed those two as much as their older songs and was just as familiar with them, having seen Hit the Lights perform at the Early November’s second reunion show in New Jersey. Halfway through the set, everyone was surprised to see a man propose to his girlfriend, which was extremely touching. After a certain age, many critics will say bands should hang up their guitars, but I think Hit the Lights are still relevant and their new album is very good.
Cartel is a band that everyone should also be familiar with, having been on MTV with hits like “Honestly.” I’ll be honest, they weren’t as exciting to watch as Hit the Lights, but the crowd still seemed to really get into the songs, which can always make up for a band with less stage presence. Even though I felt that way, I still enjoyed the set. Other than their old classics, I really loved the song “Conduit” off their latest EP. Their newer songs are less pop punk and more chill, which seems to be a common progression that pop punk bands have as time goes by. If you’re into more relaxed pop punk, give their EP “In Stereo” a listen, you won’t be disappointed.
Last but not least is Set Your Goals. If you’ve never heard them, they’re a different kind of pop punk that incorporates more yelling and a little screaming into their music. It’s less of the traditional Blink pop punk, but is good nonetheless. They also have two vocalists, Matt and Jordan, who could not be more different. Both have an intense stage presence and you can just tell they love what they do. The crowd went crazy for Set Your Goals and a huge pit opened which had a lot of hardcore dancing and moshing. I much prefer Matt’s clean vocals to his yelling, but it didn’t seem to be an issue to the crowd. They were definitely the most exciting to watch because, unlike some of the other bands, the two vocalists weren’t playing instruments and could engage the crowd more. They played songs such as “Goonies Never Say Die,” “This Song is Definitely Not About a Girl,” and “Muntiny!” all of which kept the crowd moving. I was disappointed to see that there was no encore, and it looked as if Jordan was ready for one more, but the rest of the band walked off stage and soon after the crowd dispersed.
Information about the review…
Tour: Set Your Goals and Cartel Co-Headline Spring Tour
Bands: Set Your Goals, Cartel, Hit The Lights, Mixtapes, and Super Prime
Reviewer: Katie Simpson
Date: April 4, 2012
Venue: The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL