Set Sail bid farewell
Friday night saw the final show for Set Sail in Sydney, and one that they will be remembered by. I think to completely understand how far this band has come, and how monumental this night was, I’ll just give you some of the highlights of how much this band managed to achieve in their relatively short career.
After meeting in Australia busking, the three members dropped out of their law and literature degrees to pursue music. They ended up leaving on a world busking tour with $400 and got a huge cult following from their YouTube videos, with fans tracking the entire tour. This tour saw them get arrested in Madrid, receive 26 free beers on a Virgin Flight, a guerrilla performance outside an Abercrombie & Fitch launch in their undies, a deportation for lead singer Brandon Hoogenboom and a set at an FC Seoul game in Korea. It’s safe to say the guys from Set Sail achieved quite a bit, and had quite a lot of fun along the way.
Melbournites Playwrite opened the night at Oxford Arts with their own blend of Yeasayer-influenced indie rock. Although not an extremely original formula, it worked well for them and made arriving early well worth it. By the time Set Sail’s set came about, it was disappointing to not see the venue with a few more people, considering the amount of fans they have managed to pick up over their career. It capped the energy that could be elated from the crowd which a shame considering the style of their live show, but regardless it was still a considerable turn out.
And just to be a little more unconventional, the guys had announced earlier that they were to release their debut album this week, and would be performing tracks off it. They did exactly this and it shifted the mood entirely, with the first featured track being a ballad that showcased lead man Hoogenboom’s extensive vocal range. The rest of the set was dynamic, shifting between old classics and unreleased tracks, and upbeat funk-infused songs, all the way down to the other end of the spectrum with quite a number of slower acoustic based numbers. With some tracks being frustratingly good, it made you wonder if they had pursued the band longer if they would have ever gained the acceptance for a mainstream crossover.
After the obligatory encore, they returned with violinist Josiah Willows actually taking centre stage with a guitar and performing a captivating acoustic. The final track of the set I assume purposely closed, with the lyrical themes of “we’ll miss you”, which certainly reflected the sentiments of the dedicated fan base that they have built up, not just around Sydney, but the world.
By James Sherley
Photography by Daniel Knott