“Oh what a night. Late December back in ’63″. Of course the later isn’t true, this is 2011. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend the last hours of Christmas than in front of the two best local bands to come through St. Petersburg, FL in a long time. There were three bands featured on the bill: Permanent Makeup, The Holy Slow Train, and Set & Setting.
First up was St. Pete’s own Permanent Makeup. The best way I can describe this 3 piece would be to picture a band like Bikini Kill, or any other credible, lo-fi artist who plays from the heart with soul. Blend that analogy with Fugazi plus a tiny bit of surf and there you have it. They’re a modern day Sonics. PM posses the same bombastic, explosive sound you hear when playing The Sonics 1966 album Boom, minus the sax.
Next up was The Holy Slow Train. This band for me,will forever go down as one of the most generic, and pretentious live acts I have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good folk band. But with The Holy Slow Train, it seemed contrived. They played as if starting the band was a good way to pick up girls, or try and show a softer side to their already mundane lifestyle. What a strange and thoroughly uninteresting group to throw dead center into this otherwise mind blowing show.
Last and certainly not least was another band of St. Pete natives, Set & Setting. I’ve seen this group on more occasions than I can remember. Each performance raises the bar and my undying love for them keeps growing and growing. This four piece consisting of drummers Stephen Handal and Mark Etherington, guitarist Shane Handal, and bassist John Allen literally explode on stage. The song dynamics alone elevate to the point of hysteria, but also possess a slowed down, sad and moody vibe. Although Set & Setting give the listener bits of a calming break, nothing can compare to the group’s concussive blend of quiet/loud.
Set & Setting give the crowd something new, interesting, and fun, sprinkled with a bit of total annihilation. Fans leave their shows lacking the ability to speak, much less comprehend what it is they just experienced. Look forward to their upcoming Spring 2012 tour and a possible full-length to follow.