Gig Review by Gena Hollyoake


Photo by Jesse DeFlorio

Ahh, The Summer Set. A band from Arizona who are apparently too pop for the punk kids but too punk for the pop kids. Where do they fit in? In Manchester it seems as tonight The Academy was packed with loyal supporters all eager to see a gig that may never have happened. After reportedly splitting last year, the band are now back together and looking stronger than ever after the release of their new album Stories For Monday.

It all kicked off with the spotlight – literally, there was just a spotlight – on front man Brian Dales tinkering the keys as he casually slid into new track Figure Me Out. The rest of the band then joined him onstage to ramp it up from a gentle serenade to full on party. They were completely tight and polished as they toyed with the crowd, switching from sweet, heartfelt tracks such as Rescue to fun filled anthems like All In.

The set list was interesting for all as the band mixed new tracks, for example The Night Is Young with oldies Chelsea. Not that this really mattered. Everyone in the room knew every word to every song anyway. The crowd did not stop moving once and there was a real festival feeling in such a tiny, dingy basement.

The other members remained fairly quiet however Brian Dales was ever the charismatic frontman. He revealed the stories behind his songs and opened up about having “had the worst year of his life”, before breaking into the most beautiful acoustic version of Legendary. It was a genuine goosebumps moment.

In a world where positivity is hard to come by at the moment, to go to a gig and feel united with everyone in that room is pretty darn special. The Summer Set exude a warm, carefree and upbeat feeling from the stage, that remains with you long after their set has finished. Sure their songs could be classed cheesy but they are relatable, empowering and bloody good fun.

And as the final chords of Lightning In A Bottle chimed out, they left everyone clinging onto that sense of happiness and desperate to see them again.

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