The Ready Set, Cartel

THE READY SET, CARTEL, The El Rey Theater, November 19, 2010

It was a Friday night, and the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles was packed to the rafters to check out the headlining band Hey Monday and many other terrific acts who were sharing the bill. Missed The In Crowd and only saw part of the This Century set, but hope to see both bands again in the near future.

Judging by the anticipation for the arrival of Jordan Witzigreuter and his band The Ready Set, one could easily be forgiven to have thought they had accidentally stepped into a Justin Bieber concert. The girls in the audience were vocal about their admiration for The Ready Set. Once The Ready Set did perform, one noticed right away that the live performance was much more full sounding than what’s heard on their debut album I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming. The songs are extremely infectious, and many in the crowd were singing along with their favorites. Spinning was a definitive highlight, with a dazzling dance beat that had many in the audience swaying and rocking. Stays Four The Same is an older song that still excites the fans, and remains a reliable staple in The Ready Set show.

Witzigreuter has a voice that soars and has loads of charisma to spare. A talented singer/songwriter who has found himself being signed by Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) to his Decaydance label, which in turn is now distributed by Sire/Warner Brothers. It’s been a huge year for The Ready Set – a strong example being when the band performed their hit single Love Like Woe – probably the highest point of the entire night for many of the fans packed within the El Rey Theater. With a talent this vibrant, it will be very exciting to see what the future has in store for The Ready Set. The next time Jordan Witzigreuter and his band show up in town, they could very well be headlining dates! This may be electronic dance music, but there is a lot of heart to be found within the compositions – and with a complete band in tow, The Ready Set is more than ready to take on the music world one captivating song at a time.  Super effective with the entire band in tow!

Up next was Cartel, a band that has seen their fair share of ups and downs over the years, who were in town to promote their current release Cycles on Wind Up Records. Judging by the audience reaction, Cartel has amassed quite an impassioned fan following who has stuck with them throughout their career. Cartel was tighter and more alive than ever, performing with a sense of passion and exuberance that was infectious to behold.

Opening with the explosive should-be hit single The Perfect Mistake, Cartel presented a solid set of tunes that had the entire room entranced. Say Anything (Else) and Honestly from their breakthrough album Chroma were performed, still very important songs for both the band and their many fans. Deep South is an impassioned track for these Georgia-based musicians that really resonated with its strong sense of urgency. Faster Ride is a top notch track, with the mentions of “lower lows and higher highs” euphorically weaving its magical spell within a live setting. The self-titled major label debut was pretty much ignored, but the new material definitely held its own – easily showing that the band has a staying power with even greater glories to come. Especially effective is front man Will Pugh’s performance, playing guitar and singing with a strong sense of conviction. In the year 2010, Cartel is on fire!

Didn’t get to stay for Hey Monday, but I did catch these guys (and gal) at Warped Tour, and they are definitely well worth checking into! Outside the El Rey, the dark skies were looking ominously like impending rain, but not even the cold and threats of a downpour could affect the joy to be found with both the sunny tunes of The Ready Set and the pop rocking force of nature known as Cartel.

(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)

The Ready Set on Facebook

Cartel on Facebook


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