The Marble Factory has always been a rather ominous building; the barbed wire adorning its exterior has always seemed to signify a point of no return. Luckily, such appearances are thoroughly deceiving! The Marble Factory, in truth, is amongst the most popular music venues in Bristol. Musical icons like Zebrahead and Anti Flag regularly grace the stage here, so anyone who visits the venue is always in for a real treat! Tonight, the lovely lads from Set It Off and With Confidence were going to add themselves to this incredibly talented roster. It was certainly a night to remember.
Support tonight was provided by Homebound and Too Close To Touch. Homebound possess a significantly more light-hearted sound to them, though, of course, some of their lyrics were quite dark. Each of the members worked together effortlessly, working the bouncing crowd, and setting a wonderfully friendly tone for the evening. Too Close To Touch, a charming band hailing from the United States, were next to play. Having never heard of them before, I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Their insatiable beats, coupled with heavier instrumental breakdowns, gave them a unique, addictive edge. They also addressed the elephant in the room: Manchester. The previous night, somebody infiltrated an Ariana Grande concert and murdered innocent people who simply went to have a good time. Music is, for many, a safe space, a retreat. The guys in Too Close To Touch took just a moment to acknowledge the atrocity, and implored that we keep going to shows. Acts of terror can only hold sway if we are terrified. Peace will win, and fear will lose. After a thoroughly compassionate, and musically kick-ass set, Too Close To Touch exited the stage to rapturous applause. They certainly gained themselves a number of new fans here.
Next, we were treated to a set by the wonderful Aussies, With Confidence. These guys are what modern pop punk is all about; they wholeheartedly embody the direction in which the genre is going, but are just so distinctly refreshing you cannot help but feel revived and renewed after listening to them. One song in which this is the case is ‘Voldemort’, which is both uplifting and reassuring to listen to: ‘despite the weather it gets better‘. It highlights that even when times are rough, just like the weather, things will look up, and when the sun shines, it will shine clearer. Their set was bursting with vivacious, insatiably catchy pop punk beats and breakdowns. I must confess that, prior to researching them before the show, I hadn’t had the pleasure of listening to With Confidence. However… following their incredible set, they are all I have been listening to, and you should give them a go too. Let’s hope we see them again soon.
Following a short retreat to the bar for refreshments, the crowd grew visibly excited for Set It Off. Excited chatter grew rapidly into a deafening cheer as they took to the stage, and they put on one hell of a show. The set was filled to bursting with hits, but began with their first, ‘Why Worry’: a great choice! The crowd readily clapped, and belted out the chorus at a volume that gave the Set It Off a run for their money. The call and response vocals were a winner here.
The evening was overwhelmingly positive. ‘Ancient History’ reminded us of the virtue of not crawling back to our exes – Danny shining here as he shreds quite the solo, and ‘Forever Stuck in Our Youth’ reminded us to live in the positivity of a moment. Set It Off are an overwhelmingly positive band. This is the case even when they are negotiating rather negative themes, such as that of betrayal, made prevalent in ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’. This song, my own personal favourite, wholly embodies Set It Off. The sheer sass, coupled with fairy tale allusions, make it inherently clever, and it comes into its own in the live arena. After all, the sass here cannot effectively come into its own until you see Cody spit the lyrics, roll his eyes, and smile cheekily for yourself.
Set It Off finished their set with ‘Hypnotized’ which, frankly, is fierce. Here, the iconic Set It Off sass is coupled with a burning anger, which really comes through both lyrically and instrumentally. Cody makes no apologies for dropping his ‘nice guy’ personality here, instead opting for much harsher, but equally infectious lyrics: ‘‘Call me harsh for throwin’ darts and aimin’ for your hollow temples”. The instruments are paradoxically harsh but harmonious, working wonders with such lyrics. The song epitomizes an emotional breaking point, there’s no looking back here. Following the song’s conclusion, and a collective shout of ‘Go fuck yourself!’, the evening was over. I haven’t been as reluctant to leave a venue in a long time, but I knew I wasn’t alone in walking home with a smile on my face that night. What a show.
Review: Amy Jefferies.