game.SET.match – set and setting live in Seattle

My ears are still ringing and my adrenaline is still flowing. I can still feel the powerful performance given by set and setting deep within my veins. On what should have been an ordinary Sunday night in a nothing to write home about dive bar in the college district of Seattle, there are a select few of us who witnessed and experienced real life magic created through the instruments of four very talented musicians.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing nearly every single one of my favorite bands perform live and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt the way I did after seeing set and setting perform. Post-Rock is a genre that captures our attention with walls of sound and production values that are often times impossible to replicate live. Very few bands I’ve seen perform are able to output the same energy and sound as on their albums.  Last year it was The End of the Ocean who made magic in Seattle on tour in support of a new EP, outperforming their recorded self. This year it was set and setting who took the distinct honor of capturing my imagination and my heart.

As the band set up their DUAL drumsets, I began to feel we were in for something amazing. Anticipation grew as the band opened with the short intro track to their debut album “Through the Unhindered Break of Day”, a three minute long low key build up composed through a few docile riffs and endless light cymbal tapping. The bar patrons had yet to truly take a notice to set and setting‘s presence. Then the moment the band busted in “Spiraling Uncertainties” it felt like the beginning of something truly brilliant. The aggression from Shane’s guitar work against Jon’s low-key bass and  the intensity of two drummers made me feel like there was no better place on earth I could be at that given moment. Ears began to perk up, all attention was now focused on set and setting as the band played under their own custom blue lighting. The crowd began to form around the stage as some closed their eyes and swayed while others encouraged the drummers Mark and Stephan to go faster and harder as if that was somehow humanly possible. It was.

The band’s third song escapes me as I was far too wrapped up in the beauty, but I believe it may have been “The Truth of the Path“. Sadly, the band exclaimed they only had time for one more after less than 20 minutes of performing. I had already decided in my head I was going to be the one to start the “one more song” chant afterward. But that idea never came to fruition because it wasn’t necessary. The band’s final song was “Essence of Paradox“, their  13 minute long magnum opus that felt like it was never going to end. And none of us wanted it to end either. Louder, faster, harder. Louder, faster, harder. The build up continued as a crowd in awe witnessed a band playing endlessly like the world was crumbling around them.

There are few things in this life that are true and pure. Being in the band’s presence as they performed “Essence of Paradox” felt like an honor and a privilege. If set and setting was a drug, I would have overdosed and died with no regrets. Performances this good and of this quality don’t come around that often, so when you experience one, you damn well better praise and thank those musicians. After the show I confessed to the band members that there a few post-rock bands I’ve seen live that have been able to replicate or come close to the quality of work found on their albums. set and setting exceeded even my wildest expectations, their album does their live act no justice whatsoever. set and setting deserve to be heard by all, post-rock fan or not. Magical, captivating and awe-striking enough to leave a crowd mesmerized, I cannot praise this band enough for their talents or the music they have created.

I feel like I’ve witnessed something truly great and beautiful and now I want to share it with the rest of the world. This is a band you need to see. If you live close to any of the cities the band is playing near over the next three weeks, it is your duty and responsibility to not miss this act. get ready to witness magic my friends.

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