Set Your Goals
The Old Blue Last, London
There’s something magical about that last week in May. The sun comes out (in full force, sometimes, as tonight is the hottest one of the year so far) and for a few glorious days, our shores are teeming with some of the best bands in the world. Thanks, Slam Dunk, you’re the best. Tonight, one of the main attractions to the festival, California’s Set Your Goals, are gracing the stage at London’s legendary Old Blue Last.
While the venue is never a haven of calm and cool, tonight the tiny room above the bar in ultra-cool-everyone-has-weird-haircuts Shoreditch is a humid, crowded sweatbox. It’s packed wall to wall; neither love nor money could force more people into this minute space. Clearly in their element in such an environment, it takes all of thirty seconds before Set Your Goals have bodies flying in the air. The dual attack of vocals from Jordan Brown and Matt Wilson are unrelenting as they tear through classics like “Goonies Never Say Die!” and fan favourite “Summer Jam”. Their delivery is tight and frenetic, even with the heat making the guitars slip in and out of tune and the sheer volume of sweat making the crowd slip over each other. For all intents and purposes, it is the perfect punk rock show – there’s no barrier between fan and band, proverbial or otherwise, and every word is screamed back with just as much passion as it is delivered.
Why Set Your Goals aren’t much bigger than they are, I shall never know. They’re insanely good at what they do, and deserve to be acknowledged for it. But in a way, it’s much better like this – tonight’s show at the Old Blue Last is up close, personal, no-holds-barred damn good fun. I don’t think anyone in the thronging masses of the pit here would have it any other way.