Set Your Goals -- This Will Be The Death Of Us

I know I just wrote shit on Set Your Goals and their show this past week, but after hearing their new album in full I have a shit-ton more to say about them.
Like... They fucking rule.
Breaking onto the scene with two wicked EP's followed by a seemingly unbeatable first album titled Mutiny all in the span of 2005-2006, Set Your Goals immediately built up an army of fans by straddling the lines of pop punk and hardcore, the two genres competing for recognition at the time. Although not directly responsible for the fusing both styles together they can be credited with perfecting it, all while adding a ridiculous amount of pirate references.. I mean COME ON, how sweet is that.
After releasing such an epic freshman album things could have gone either way with the sophomore release This Will Be The Death Of Us. Lucky for both the band and the listener, this record does not disappoint and in no way lacks the sweat and balls that went into Mutiny.
Working with producer Mike Green (Paramore, The Matches) the band took a giant leap forward with the production value on this album resulting in more of a sharp, polished and clean-cut sound, while at the same time progressing their aggressive 90's skate pop/punk/hardcore into the same realm as veterans like Bad Religion and All. Featuring guest vocals from Vinnie Caruana (I Am The Avalanche/The Movielife), Haley Williams (Paramore) and Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory) the SYG singers further perfect their tag team vocals, even down to impeccable timing alongside their guest voices.
The album is made up of 12 punishing tracks of non-stop ball-busting pop punk anthems, none of which are written about any dumb bitches that most pop punk bands like to cry about in their lyrics, no no, each song has a mature and positive message encouraging listeners to live their own lives and ask questions, and most importantly follow their dreams. The lyrics are suggestive without being preachy and by the 12th track if you listen close enough you come out of the album feeling somewhat socially conscious and as if you can conquer the world, just like Set Your Goals is conquering the world of mother-fucking-punk-rawk!

I'm Sarah. I Do What I Want.

The Gig Life Tour 2009: Toronto @ The Reverb July 18th.

This past Saturday at the Reverb just so happened to be the concert of my (wet) dreams: The Gig Life Tour 2009 featuring Grave Maker, The Swellers, Fireworks, Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong.
Holy Shit!
Although I love the first three bands and they were fucking wicked I'm going to focus on Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong, both of which have brand spanking new albums coming out tomorrow (July 21st 2009).

Set Your Goals
New Album: This Will Be The Death Of Us
The second they hit the stage everybody in the crowd had their hands up and my view was blocked (which is why there are no pictures, sorry!). The vocals sounded different live, a little poppier and boyish but at the same time exhibiting more of a personal relation to their lyrics. By the second line of "The Fallen" the walls were dripping with sweat, and the energy portrayed on the teeny tiny stage was mirrored by the huge audience intent on the bands every move and their captivating presence on stage. With two members strictly on vocal duty, and still featuring two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer on top of that the stage was constantly full of movement, and though neither singer had anything but a mic to occupy their hands (I'll give them something...) they were never dull to watch, making use of every inch of the stage and fully aware of each other and the rest of the band the entire time.
Without hesitation they jumped into another old tune to really psych up the crowd, "Work In Progress" proved a huge pleaser and a venue-wide sing-a-long/clap-a-long ensued. After successfully giving the entire audience massive hard-ons they started to give us a taste of their wicked new album This Will Be The Death Of Us (out tomorrow) by playing "Look Closer", and judging by the load-blowing groans and cheers all around me not a soul was disappointed. Although lacking the pirate references that made Mutiny so sexy, and a tad more grown up instead, the new album is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. Another new one called "Summer Jam" came next, and assured fans that this record still seesawed the line between pop punk and hardcore that made SYG loved by so many fans of either genre. The classic "Echoes" came next, and as kids jumped on stage to sing along with the band I finally realized what "brotherly love" meant, because watching this happen on stage between a bunch of strangers was the epitome of the phrase. "Goonies Never Say Die" encouraged this state of mind and was responsible for the biggest mosh pit of the night thus far, which only grew when "To Be Continued.." started. This song wasn't just my favourite apparently, it sent the entire audience into a frenzy and I couldn't even hear the band over the crowd singing along. Next they teased us again with another newbie called "Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On", which proved to be another hit, and all to soon the last song "Mutiny" erupted the stage with crowd surfers and more fans jumping up to join the band as they refused to accept the end of such an amazing set.

Four Year Strong
New Album: Explains It All (90's covers album)
I'm not sure if the bands are switching headlining rolls on the Gig Tour or if Four Year Strong has headlined each show, but I was very surprised to see them on last.. not due to lack of talent or ability but just in comparison to Set Your Goals, who I have been listening to for a lot longer than I even knew of Four Year Strong. Judging by the turnout for this band though it was very legit that they got the headlining spot. As far as I know this was either their second or third show ever in Toronto, and it was absolutely amazing to see the number of fans sporting their florescent tee's and singing along to every single word.
Kicking things off with the intro to their first album Rise or Die Trying, the minute+ long chant called "The Takeover" rolled right into "Bada Bing Wit' A Pipe" and the now-enormous crowd pressed tightly to the stage. This band has a phenomenal set up on stage, I just can't get enough of it. So many singers, so much to look at, such wicked beards and the all-encompassing energy that engulfs everybody watching. And oh god they are tighter than any virgin of this world. Once again I couldn't see most of the stage because of the hands in the air and people jumping up and down in front of me, and to be honest I wasn't pissed either. When the first few notes to "Catastrophe" were strum next there wasn't a still asshole in the bunch, and the crowd was deafening as everybody screamed the words with such severity that it was almost like each mouth wrote the words they were singing themselves. "Abandon Ship or Abandon All Hope" came next, followed by "Men Are From Mars", both of which proved to be just as popular as "Catastrophe", with heavier breakdowns in person that got fists pumping and feet flying towards the middle of the room... yet another band straddling the pop punk/hardcore borderline.
Next came something that I was praying would happen... They played their cover of "Semi-Charmed Life"... and it was like my first orgasm twenty times over. The variety of vocals throughout the song were like different fingers piercing my v...*ahem*... they sounded amazing. Usually I'm not a huge fan of lots of covers in a set of a headlining band, but since FYS is releasing an entire album dedicated to 90's covers tomorrow I actually quite enjoyed it... unfortunately my phone died around this time and I missed the title of the next song they played, which I am 90% sure they said was another cover but I got distracted at this point and kinda forget what happened... oops! Anyway once my attention was directed back towards the stage I was delighted by "Beatdown In The Key Of Happy" which is one of my fav's because of the kickass drumming that goes into it, beats that you HAVE to dance to... whether it be hardcore dancing (haha "lawnmower" "clear house" haha suck my dick) or just bopping along or all out flailing around... and then it was over. And off stage they went... only to come out a few seconds later to thankfully do one encore... "Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die" was probably the best choice for the last song we could ask for, and there had to be at least twenty people spilling all over the stage, fighting for a chance at the mic, and jumping into the crowd left right and center. It was intense. Unfortunately that's all the time they had and that was the end of the show... It felt like they played for no more than 10 minutes, I could have watched them into the wee hours of the morning.. Nonetheless it was a GREAT show!!

Check out both bands new releases Tuesday July 21st, just buy them immediately it's worth whatever the cost is I promise.

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.

Vans Warped Tour 2009 Toronto!

Wow, it's only been four days and already Warped Tour is a blur, so let's just look at some of the highlights that I can remember... between beer and boys there were actually some pretty decent bands in and among the growing mass of shitty not-so-punk bitches that are taking over the tour.
Walk Off The Earth kicked off the day on a high note; tight, fun to watch, upbeat and ska-full (not to be confused with awful, despite rhyming capabilities), with special guests Rune-dogg and Mullet-Man (Julian) from The Johnstones (who unfortunately weren't playing this year) to spice things up in the first AND last song.
Still somewhat sober at this point I can recall booking it to see 3oh!3 after WOTE finished, and despite their sudden overwhelming radio success they were still fucking greasy as ever.. dancing and grinding, swinging those hips, and thrusting in my general direction, and I guess the rest of the audience.. for the second time in the last few weeks I had to hold back from throwing my bra on stage and fingering myself to the music (too much?), and I'm afraid I'm resorting back to my 13 year old girl self when it comes to all these sexy bands out there (and I'm not referring to the Jonas Brothers, unless that young one aged like 5 years in the past 5 minutes)..
What the fuck am I even talking about? Who am I?
Bottom line: 3oh!3 were sexy and sounded great too.
Then I had to stand for Underoath and I wanted to kill myself.
And this is where it starts to get fuzzy.
I vaguely remember Less Than Jake hilariously bashing their new album and the few songs I caught were fucking great, no surprise there for the ska veterans.
Alexisonfire marked the second time that day that I wanted to kill myself. (damn you Sheilah!)
Dance Gavin Dance were spectacular, soo much energy and not a noticeable flaw in the set. So technical and precise, packing a much stronger punch live than recorded fo sho.
There was one newer band that stood out called TV/TV. I heard them for the first time a few days before Warped and luckily stumbled upon them sometime in the afternoon playing one of the smaller stages. They actually wow'ed me. Poppy, yet with more depth to them than most, they hooked me with the songs "Indie Rock Girl" and "Get It Get It", a cheer anthem for the ages. Although we seemed to be the only two with wristbands (aka over 19) in the crowd, they actually had quite the gathering of fans for their first time on Warped/in Canada, and the girls loved them... The singer even gave out his number and girls (and boys) actually took it down in their phones... which I bet he's regretting now. Sucker!
Anyway, worth listening to, and possibly the only newer band I was stoked on this Warped.
The last band I recall is Bad Religion, and I don't really know what to say except they are one of the best punk bands ever. Nothing else could do them justice. Still growing in talent even as they start losing their hair.


I'm Sarah. I do what I want.

The Job/Kiss Kiss/Fake Problems @ Sneaky Dee's July 7th.

This is one of the only times you'll ever hear me say these words.... Fuck baseball. Because of the stupid extra inning game against those Tampa Bay ASSHOLES I practically missed the first band playing at Sneaks last night, who happen to be the only band from Toronto at the show and they're fucking awesome. They were (and still are!) The Job.
I stumbled in with a few songs left and from what I heard they were super fucking tight and had wicked stage presence. I'm really kicking myself for not getting there sooner, and of course we didn't win, sonofabitch... but this isn't a baseball blog so after advising everybody to check out The Job's myspace I'll move on to the next band who played.

Mother fucking Kiss Kiss yo. To be honest I hadn't really heard of this band before I saw they were playing with FP but even after listening to their myspace I was a huge fan. Opening to an unfairly spacious venue(surprising considering the bands) Kiss Kiss immediately had the small crowd captivated, and if you thought they sounded good recorded you need to hear them when they're in their element..LIVE! I swear in the span of one song the crowd tripled. They were riveting, both to listen to and to watch, putting the audience in a surreal-like state, and according to my drunken notes it "made me want to wreck things"... whatever that means... and I can only say that it was definitely meant in the best possible way, the fun sort of smashing because what you're listening to is too fucking good. You all know what I'm talking about... or maybe I just have problems... regardless I actually found their performance unbelievable. Theatrical and totally confusing, with Saves the Day sounding gorgeous vocals and a violinist who played a major part in setting this band apart and blowing me away. She kept the melody throughout the entire set, making sense out of complete nonsense. While they were playing I felt like I was on shrooms and the only thing keeping me from losing myself completely was the daunting, grounded sound of the violin. If you have never heard of them before, or were unfortunate enough to miss the show last night you neeeeeeeeeeeed to check them out on their myspace.

I have a confession. I haven't stopped listening to Fake Problems since they walked off the stage last night. With sadly fading hopes of reliving the show last night over and over and over again I continued to listen to them on my way home from the show, then I put them on to lull me to sleep (more like to pass out to), as yet again as I got ready this morning, and again on the subway on my way to work, and again right now working. Every time a song plays that was part of their set I am taken back to last night, with the overwhelming urge to rip my panties off and throw them at the band onstage, which in real life would be the cubicle in front of me, and that would be awkward. Honestly though, I've always loved this band but I never knew the power they held when they played live in an intimate venue like Sneaky Dee's (perfect for the show).. it was almost like the Beatles effect, I actually wanted to take off all my clothes they were so good, and I am totally not like that usually... well except for that one time...kidding.
Right away it was better than I ever imagined, and I didn't have low expectations for this band by any means. There was so much energy in the room the second they hit the first note, the crowd went wild and you could feel the floor shaking under your feet. With an array of instruments from maraca's?, a trumpet, keyboards, a tambourine, extra drums including, (if I can recall correctly...maybe I shouldn't get wasted and try to review shows) a bongo? A cowbell? And they were apparently one member short, which would have been impossible to believe had they not said it themselves. Their performance was in your face, a swift kick in the balls to bring you back to life after Kiss Kiss' reality-defying production, and let's just say these two bands complimented the shit out of each and I don't think I ever want to see them play with anybody else, although that's inevitable.
Fake Problems were loud, they were obnoxious, and they did it so well that I felt like a sexually frustrated teenager again and seeing them was the only thing hitting that g-spot. The expressions on each members' face while playing held the ability to enter the audience into the realm of the band, and it felt like you were playing along with them, which was a pretty fucking intense feeling. And the singer was nothing like I had pictured him, which I loved. The voice he emitted was so unexpected, quite a pleasant surprise, and it sounded even better than their recordings. Not only were they breathtaking to listen to but they were just as breathtaking to watch. The strength of his vocals matched with his soft confidence made him a constant focal point. The trumpet player was very animated and was another eye-catcher... to be honest it was hard to take your eyes off any one member of the band because they were so involved in what they were doing, and having such a good time doing it. They even had my friends who had never been huge fans of their genre whatsoever shitting their pants at how amazing they were.
Although every song was epic in it's own, and I wish they could play everything they've ever written every show, the songs that really stuck out for them last night started off with "My First Million" which was one of the biggest crowd pleasers and had everybody cheering and singing along. The sing-a-long continued with "How Far Our Bodies Go" which was a personal favourite and actually made me wish I could freeze time and live in that song performance alone for the rest of my life. The drum solo from the "other" drummer in "Rumble In The Jungle" was totally kickass, and the build up in "HeartBPM" left nobody disappointed when they delivered the legendary last chorus..
"When you're young (There's nothing really left to say,)
When you're dumb
When you're drunk as hell (My soul is stuck on the interstate.)
And in love
When you're sad. (When I finally get around to coming home,)
When you're no one
Pretend you're something (I long forgotten the area code.)
More than you are"
..and playing "Astronaut" as their encore was the perfect tune to leave everybody wanting more.
I know I say this a lot, but I am 110% serious when I say that this was one of THE BEST shows I have ever been to.
CHECK THEM OUT. Profile (full album stream)

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.