In case you were wondering, pop punk is still very much alive.
It has reared its beanie-clad, crewneck-with-pizza-grease-stains-wearing self from the early 2000’s and rattled every drop of sweat and lyric out of the sad, ‘I hate this town/my significant other dumped me’ kids – from the 30-year-old bearded man in his red and black flannel, to the 15-year-old girl in her backwards baseball hat and Nike shoes.
While pop punk may have hit snooze once or twice within the past few years, especially as most of its original fans settle into their day jobs at offices, on November 5, 2016, the ‘old-faithful’ melodic hardcore band, Set Your Goals took the stage at The Bottom Lounge, with swords, silly string and confetti in tow. Pop punk dusted off its shoulders and stood up. The band, fully back from a four-year hiatus to focus on their own lives, spent their third and final day of their Midwest tour leg in Chicago, to perform their 2006 sophomore record, Mutiny!, in its entirety, in addition to several other songs off of their third and fourth releases, This Will Be the Death of Us and Burning at Both Ends.
And, boy, was the crowd happy. Perspiration, crushed beer cans, smiles and all. During every drum breakdown or chanting war cry, a mosh pit of thirty-plus flailing bodies could be seen in the middle of the crowd, calling out every string of lyrics spit from the mics of vocalists Jordan Brown and Matt Wilson. Bodies tumbled off of the stage and into the outstretched arms of the crowd and several times the stage divers’ Vans Sk8 Hi shoes tripped over mic or amp cords. The band didn’t even mind. Security gave up on controlling the crowd. The pandemonium of the evening couldn’t be stopped and no one would have wanted it any other way.
Even during the lulls, the audience remained enthralled with the band. The immersive frontmen touched on the typical pop punk show conversation: how you can still achieve your dreams even if you’re 15 or 30, how though the world is falling apart ‘we’ve all got this moment and each other’ and more importantly, how the band still believes in every word written in Mutiny! ten years later.
“My life: A constant work in progress and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“This is us growing up, still young, but no longer impressionable.”
“Everything, you will see, comes together in it’s own ironic kind of way, so live in just today.”
“I refuse to stand for organized crime.”
After the last booming chord of ‘Echoes’, the final track on Mutiny!, faded out, the band launched into ‘Goonies Never Say Die!’, a treasured track on the band’s first EP. Of course all the diehard fans went insane. As it was the last day, members of the two opening bands, Water Me Down and Sleep on It, in addition to the roadies and tour managers poured onto stage, this time with their own silly string cans.
One of the many silly string fights during the show.
Just as the band hasn’t given up on their fans, nor the fans on the band, pop punk didn’t let anyone down, either. It’s here to stay. It’s here to incite riots. It’ll never say die.
Set Your Goals noted that they’ll be back with new music and more tours. Follow updates from the band on Twitter @SetYourGoals or setyourgoalsband.com. For upcoming shows at the Bottom Lounge, visit bottomlounge.com.
The aftermath of the show…crushed beer cans and confetti.