Too many songs, not enough time
Hey guys - I saw you perform in Kingston the other week and was really pleasantly surprised to hear Lethal Enforcer on the setlist! ❤️ It was such a treat to hear that song performed live again. I thought the setlist was very well-balanced to suit a range of fans! That being said, I felt it wasn’t a particularly energetic crowd that night. I love it when more folks in the room are a bit more up for it, so completely get that. Lobes is a triumph and so the setlist should be more Lobes heavy than anything! As a huge fan of TV en Français, I didn’t feel like I missed out not hearing a single song from it. But then I caught the tour of that record in 2014. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is:
1) Love a deep cut but don’t really expect it. One is actually enough to satisfy us die-hards.
2) Plenty of us have seen you on tour multiple times over the years and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I don’t think you need to do too much to impress us, some of us are already in this thing too deep and it’s great, tbqh.
3) Do whatever it is you gotta do! Play the setlist you really vibe with the most! Genuinely I’d rather you play a show where someone in the audience who is maybe seeing you for the first time feels like they’ve just become a part of something, than playing deep cuts. Ease them in gently until they’re the ones dying to hear a deep cut!
4) Seeing you guys have the best time at shows, and hearing much loved older songs almost grow to sound a bit different over time makes me so happy
Hi guys, first time long time.
I think for me as a general rule I always want to see a band play the songs that they’re most excited to play and have the most fun with, even if they’re not my favourites. I also personally am always eager when seeing a band who I see every time they tour to get as much new stuff as possible.
I think there’s something to be said for the Taylor Swift Approach (no stick with me here) of having a hits and new stuff loaded set with one rotating deep cut spot that changes every night.
Me, I’d be happy to hear literally all of Lobes and then selections from across the catalogue maybe with a focus on stuff that didn’t get an airing on the Huffy tours.
I hope any of that is helpful, and hey maybe think about throwing in That’s What Counts in Birmingham.
I definitely agree with everyone who says the most important thing is to play the songs you want to play - how much fun you have on stage sets the tone for the crowd. It feels so obvious when a band is tired of bringing out "that one song" because everyone expects them to play it, and that's just not the experience you want as a fan.
Four songs from WLAS does feel like one too many, especially with such a strong back catalogue. I'd love to see room made for at least 1-2 songs from every album, so that everyone can hear something from their favourite. Maybe the casual fans won't be as into them, or maybe they'll discover something amazing - I brought my husband to the Brooklyn Made show, and he came out a way bigger fan after hearing songs live. I know I certainly don't expect to recognize every song at a (non-WAS) concert, but I've definitely looked up new music after hearing it at a gig and falling in love.
As far as deep cuts, I'd say one per show, as a treat (but you know, not too deep - a dusty album track will probably go over better than a little known b-side, as amazing as that would be). Anyone who isn't into it can go get a beer and make room on the dance floor for the rest of us, then come back for the hits (or sneak it into the encore, like Ashley suggested). Hearing a song that hasn't been played live for years is magical, but then again, so is belting out After Hours along with every other person in the room.
Ashley also made great points about the more important thing being the *right* songs - they've gotta sound good live, and vibe with the rest of the set. Also, having a rotation is important! Even for those of us who can't see multiple shows per tour, we still want to be surprised and delighted by the setlist. If we see it's more or less the same for the first few shows, you lose a bit of hope that something unexpected will appear at one of the later gigs.
The last thing I'll say is, ask your fan base! You've got a really engaged online community, and you'll probably get a good idea of what hits you should play from Twitter/Insta, whereas SDIR/Discord will be all about those deep cuts.
Actually, the last thing I'll say is it's probably impossible to put together a bad setlist when you've got so damn many bangers to choose from. Anyone who isn't digging a WAS live show needs to take their sense of joy in for repairs.
I feel you have scrapped songs from the set that were so lovely to hear live before. Many of those songs were still quite young as well. I guess it's hard to find the right balance and you are not going to please everyone, but please less of the songs you decided to kept from Huffy and Megaplex.
If you could ever include Properties of Perception, Behaviour Unbecoming and What You Do Best; it will be smashing. Also, bring back Bought Myself a Grave and KIT.
You are great musicians and I love seeing you perform live, so please just spice the set list up a bit and risk more.
I’m a Belfastian who was at the gig and can confirm that we, as a people, are incapable of offence, dark humour is our favourite and the ship sinking talk didn’t bother us in the slightest. Yis are grand, lads!
Because this is asking for a more removed perspective, I'm going to do the very no-no thing for a fan and admit that I lost track of you guys after Brain Thrust Mastery. I LOVED the first two records and cannot pretend that all of those songs, including their bsides (bring back Best Behaviour), will get me insanely excited for the end of time. But it wasn't until Lobes that I truly considered myself a full-blown fan again. I fumbled my way through something along those lines after the Brighton instore last week, but I do mean it: This is among your absolute best work, the one that makes me want to travel a few hours to see it live because I was so grateful that that instore had as much Lobes as it did, and it just made me want more.
What Springsteen does (aside from just playing 3 hour sets, which is worth a thought) is to take requests. Short of that, you could have a segment of giving the audience two songs to choose between by shouts at the show. Offer them two songs that you feel like could fill a slot in th set and let democracy finally prove itself.
Personally, I'd be happy to swap out After Hours for Dinosaurs or Tonight any day. Also please bring back Human Resources (especially for the London show ❤️)
I've been lucky enough to have seen you dozens of times since almost the very beginning, so I have gotten to hear plenty of the older songs over the years. I've been there for all of the album tours and heard almost all of my favorites live at least once. As much as I love WLAS, I would be ok with only having a couple of songs from it in the set if it meant I could hear more from the middle albums - maybe replace one of the WLAS songs with an extra from Helter Seltzer or Megaplex. Honestly, I never get bored of any of the songs you play. I'm always excited to hear something I haven't heard live for a long time, but I also love hearing lots of new and newer songs and of course a singalong is great energy. I like the idea of having a few deep cuts in the rotation and/or having a poll to see if there is one that people are really itching to hear. That might be more work than you want to do, though, and hey, it's your show and you should play what you want!
I don’t know what to tell you because from a personal viewpoint and I think generally from the mood on the discord, deep cuts are the way forward for those people who love your music. There are obvious staples which are crowd pleasers which need to stay in because, as you say, a happy crowd is the best crowd, and I completely approve of the 4 WLAS rule assuming it includes Inaction and This Scene is Dead. However, Lethal Enforcer seems to have gone down VERY well and honestly, you have the strongest back catalogue of any band I can think of (and I say this as a relatively new recruit) so pretty much any set list you put together will be stellar. I know my own choice of 20 songs would be wildly different to a lot of other people’s so it’s hard to be objective but I do think you should consider sticking the odd track from TV en Francais back into the set, even if just to make me happy 😂 (Bristol or London please as that’s where I’ll be attending) and I strenuously believe that changing things up is an important part of keeping your set exciting. If you are not at least in part thinking of your die hard fans then honestly, what’s the point? Either way, I’m excited to see you again so whatever you decide, I’ll be happy.
I love it when a band with a big back catalogue adds a 'crowd requests' section, where the audience can shout things out and the band can pick whatever they feel like playing. Keeps things fresh for audience and band.
Otherwise, TV is my favourite album, so always play something from that, please!
If you have fun, we have fun! Really enjoyed the Kingston gig. Only recognised a few tracks, but loved all of them.
I watched you Guys at Gorilla and I loved that you played Tonight. Totally wasn’t expecting it and I liked that! I really appreciate the thought that you give to how to balance your live shows. I brought one of my friends who had only heard Buckle to the Leadmill gig last year and it turned out she actually knew loads of your songs and now she’s a proper die hard fan. Also nice to see Lethal Enforcer on Sunday too..I bloody love that tune! All the best for the rest of the tour and anyone reading that hasn’t had a visit yet…you’re in for a treat!
I would NOT like to have to make these tough decisions....maybe adopt epic length sets instead? You do always create amazing, career spanning, dance fest setlists (well on the 16 times I've seen you) so have every faith in you guys! You got this!
New songs take a little while to bed in so I'm not keen on artists who play the whole new album and a few older tracks. A good mix is best I feel.
Personally, I could do without Nobody Move occasionally but if the duh duh duh inducing The Great Escape were absent I would be bereft. Impatience would be a welcome deep cut, Sprinkles a not quite so deep cut, Heart is a Weapon would be a welcome younger sound in my ears and I don't think I heard Handshake Agreement on the Huffy tour???
In summary, there are just too many great songs to pick just 19, but the odds are in your favour that the 19 you do pick form a great setlist. Can't wait for Koko!
I would personally love to hear Tonight. I’ve seen you guys 10+ times so to hear anything you don’t normally play as much is super exciting. Songs like Headlights, Sprinkles and Impatience I’ve only seen you perform once and they are all bangers. Saying that though, I’m just happy to come and see you guys so I don’t really mind what you play ❤️
I’ve been to every show you’ve done in the North East since I first clapped eyes on you guys when you supported Kaiser Chiefs (2006?) and have never felt put out by a set list so far. You have the blessing and the curse that is a strong back catalogue, so I feel you can do no wrong. Honestly think you can let that WLAS rule relax, maybe just have Textbook (Newcastle, on Friday?!) as a lil crumb to throw at us older fans. Love the new record, would love to just hear you guys play the songs you enjoy.
Dig Dug and Get Off b sides honestly and very sincerely deserve to be played live. The goat in terms of b sides imo. Tonight too 10/10 track
I'd love to see some less frequently played songs thrown out occasionally. I think it makes that set feel extra special for the people there, who might be an elite few to have ever heard that particular song live. But, no matter what you guys do live, I'll be there watching it in person or on YouTube.