“A bit too pop for the punk kids, too punk for the pop kids”; American five piece The Summer Set embody the space somewhere between mainstream radio and small gritty music venues. They’re not quite your cookie cutter pop stars, but possess an arsenal of catchy tunes.
Taking to the stage in London for the first time in three years, something in the air felt different – ethereal, almost. In the summer of 2015 The Summer Set almost broke up. After 6/7 years as a band, they had decided to go their separate ways. That is, until a song that changed everything. So on a Thursday night in Kings Cross, it seemed fitting to open the set with ‘Figure Me Out’, a song about exactly that; finding your way and figuring out who you are.
With the release of their fourth studio album, ‘Stories For Monday’, in April, The Summer Set are not short of songs. “Do you mind if we play the longest set we’ve ever played in London?” frontman Brian Logan Dales asks to screams of approval. The Arizona natives may not be selling out arenas worldwide, but they have what matters; a legion of adoring fans singing along with every breath. Much like their recent release, a sense of nostalgia accompanies the 18 track set list. Alternating between new, old and very old songs, the whole thing feels like a celebration of this band who have been essentially ‘reborn’.
Revenge track ‘Boys You Do (Get Back At You)’ proceeds heart-felt tunes ‘Rescue’ and ‘Maybe Tonight’, before the party gets going again with ‘All My Friends’. It is an eclectic group of songs, that somehow just works. A special commemoration goes to drummer Jess Bowen, who performs faultlessly throughout the set, while recovering from a car crash just days earlier.
The Summer Set are a band with the ability to play with the big guns, but no desire to sell out. Energetic, sweaty and heart-felt, it doesn’t get much more intimate than a The Summer Set show. They’re good at what they do and they do it well. Impressively so. 7 years down and yet it feels like just the beginning. If an accidental microphone drop mid-set doesn’t prove that this is a band who gives their all, I don’t know what does.