Home » LIVE REVIEW: Set It Off at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City, OK on August 25, 2023

LIVE REVIEW: Set It Off at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City, OK on August 25, 2023


Photos and Review by: Ally Arens

Lineup: Set It Off, Jeris Johnson, Sleep Theory, Mike’s Dead

Venue: Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK

Date: August 25, 2023

Floridian alternative rockers with a penchant for theatrics Set It Off are seeing career highs previously unreached, with recent single “Punching Bag” flying up the charts on Sirius XM Octane. The band has been on the road for the past couple of weeks, with a string of headlining shows in between a few slots opening for fellow theatrical rockers Ice Nine Kills. Last Friday, they brought their blend of dance-rock with scathingly relatable lyricism to Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom with the help of rap-rockers Mike’s Dead and Jeris Johnson and fellow Octane chart-toppers Sleep Theory.

First to hit the stage was Mike’s Dead, offering a blend of hip hop and rock elements that fuses “emo rap” influences a la Lil Peep with heavier instrumentation. Performing selections such as “Puppets”, which is one of my personal favorites, and “Scream and Shout”, they let the crowd know that they would be in for a night of rock and roll fun.

Next up was a band that has seen one of the most meteoric rises in the rock scene this year so far, releasing their debut single “Another Way” as recently as January; it and follow-up single “Numb” have been racking up thousands of streams in mere months. And for good reason, vocalist Cullen Moore has a smooth, yet aggressive tone that commands the attention of anyone listening, and paired with the band’s catchy lyrics and driving instrumentals, the recent Epitaph Records signees are ones to watch for sure as they prepare to release their debut EP Paper Hearts on September 29. They’ve already built themselves up a devoted fanbase, too; they paused mid-set to sing “Happy Birthday” and gift a drumhead to one young fan who had traveled over six hours with her family to spend her birthday at Friday’s show. I was actually spending my birthday there, too, but definitely did not travel as far! I thought it was awesome of them to make her day so special, and I know she will remember the night for a long time. Their set was a definite highlight of the evening as they played their hits like “Numb”, “Another Way”, newest single “Gone or Staying”, and they even got a crowd of rockers to sing along as they covered ‘NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye”. 

Following that set was another artist who has been no stranger to the sudden virality that can come from Tik Tok, having seen a similar rise from a couple of remixes of Papa Roach and Bring Me the Horizon tracks, among others, that he put out a couple of years ago. Love him or hate him, Jeris Johnson has been making a name for himself by fusing elements of rock and hip hop, and is attempting to bring edgier sounds further into the mainstream consciousness. Jeris had a stage presence that was hard to look away from; he first emerged holding a large sword that would make multiple reappearances throughout the set, and he alongside his drummer were absolutely rocking out. Most of the crowd seemed to be into it; if you’ve heard his studio recordings and aren’t already a fan, his stage show may not suddenly win anyone over, but if you are a fan of his studio work, then you’ll probably enjoy his live set as well. 

Finally, around 9:30, Set It Off took the stage and immediately started off with a bang as they threw things back to 2014’s Duality with “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”. Their energy continued into fan-favorite “Killer in the Mirror”, during which frontman Cody Carson briefly leapt into the front of the crowd while not missing a beat. 

Set It Off have been making a name for themselves for over a decade with their blend of theatrical pop-rock, bursting onto the scene with 2011’s Cinematics, and are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Though the band may be without the backings of a label now, they are seemingly stronger than ever, with Cody Carson continuing to be an absolute powerhouse of a vocalist; although, drummer Maxx Danziger could give him a run for his money as demonstrated when the two swapped places during “Hypnotized”. It was a “Win Win” for both of them, as Maxx got to be the center of attention while Cody rested his voice a bit while taking a more unconventional approach than a typical drum solo break. Their setlist was a good mixture of old and new tracks and offered something for fans of almost every era; Cinematics-era fan-favorites “Partners in Crime”, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”, and encore track “I’d Rather Drown” fit right in with more recent selections like newest single “Win Win” and “Loose Cannon”, the latter of which also featured a brief saxophone solo from Carson (is there anything he can’t do?). 

As they were closing their set, the band also revealed to the audience that they’d just learned an hour or so prior that “Punching Bag” would be at #1 on the next day’s “Big ‘Uns Countdown” on Sirius XM Octane, which is a listener-voted ranking of the top 15 songs in the station’s rotation each week. They expressed their gratitude and told the audience that if they can go through the career highs and lows they have and continue to grow and reach new heights, that continuing to work hard and channel your energy into things you care about will eventually pay off. With “Punching Bag” being one of the heaviest songs the band has released instrumentally, it’s no wonder it’s doing so well – seeing my mom rock out extra-hard when they started playing it was priceless, and it’s a testament to how music can bring people of all ages together.

Set It Off will wrap up their current U.S. dates on Friday when they play in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Ice Nine Kills, before playing a couple of shows in Mexico and Brazil in late September and a few U.S. shows with Dance Gavin Dance later in the fall. Tickets for all upcoming shows can be found here.

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