Speak Into My Good Eye

Set It Free Wrapped Up Their Legacy At The Stone Pony, Mike Gurnari Reflects

Cory Pedalino June 25, 2013 Exclusive Content, Features No Comments

Set It Free

In recent years, we have seen a universal shift in the music industry. My experience and recollection of Set it Free’s performance last Wednesday evening just goes to further exemplify the shift. In Set It Free’s short time period as a band, they dominated the local scene, were given opportunities to open at the biggest routed venues for their idols, conquered local radio, partied and stapled a name for themselves regionally. Not to mention the band managed to land a digital distribution deal with Gas Can Music and an opening slot on Wratfest at PNC Bank Arts Center in the summer of 2011.

Set It Free’s core members were formed from previous projects such as Strength in Numbers and One False Move. The members of these groups, Pat Dwyer, Pat Salmon, Joey DeAngelo, Matt Salmon, Andrew Williams and Mike Gurnari, grew up together and met when they attended the Musician’s Institute out in Los Angeles.

On a days notice, Set It Free could rally 50 to 100 fans at any venue in NJ. Can your original band do that? Have you ever tried sleeping after listening to their EP? Good Luck. “They came, they saw, they conquered, etc.”

Check out the band’s music video for Don’t Stand Alone for a sample of their full range.

So why the lack of continued traction? Why the sudden disengagement from constantly rising? Well, because the industry is fucked! Don’t believe me? Go ask your 15 to 20 year old nieces, nephews or cousins. See what they are listening to!

That’s why last Wednesday night was bitter sweet for all those in attendance. Fans were left hoping and wanting for more. With a last minute fill in from Tyler Moellmann on drums, after being notified at 2pm in the afternoon day of show, the five-some was able to pull off a powerful and interesting final bow.

Set It Free’s stage presence is always high energy, high excitement and very heavily crowd involved. Whether you got a chance to catch them at a bar gig, a local venue, bigger stadium/venue shows or at their practice spot, where they held tons of parties, you never got anything less than their all.

We at SIMGE had a nice long day of boozing during our equally as long lunch break from our Cowerks office. Upon arriving to The Stone Pony we were excited, and buzzed to check out the scene. In stark contrast and a further example of where the local traffic is at these days, last year’s Trapt show had a line around the building at 7pm.

Almost out of nowhere the guys in Set It Free rose in the scene and then disappeared. Will future projects arise? Is there a reunion show in the near to late future?

I sat down with Set It Free’s lead guitarist Mike Gurnari to try and get some answers.

Unfortunately this is your last gig. Explain in your own words what this last gig means for you and the rest of the band.

Well this last show is to make our time as a band officially come to an end. Rather than just letting it fade away, we’ll go out with a bang opening for a national act (Trapt) at an awesome local venue.

Throughout SIF’s history the band has been on some amazing bills what was your favorite and why?

Opening for Saves The Day at Starland Ballroom was my favorite by far. They’ve been my favorite band for years and a huge inspiration on me musically. Plus it’s always nice to play a sold out show too haha

What do you want your family, friends and fans to take away from this last gig and the past couple years of following SIF?

Hopefully everyone will remember all the fun we had over the last 3 years and come out one more time and sing along with us.

In as much detail as possible, please explain the current state of the national and local music scene in comparison to the scene we grew up in.

Things are definitely a lot different locally and nationally these days. When I grew up there weren’t really any bands playing out locally. Now, there’s tons of local bands playing out and touring and opening for nationals on a regular basis. When I first started out it was all about “getting signed”. Now labels aren’t needed nearly as much thanks to the Internet, social media, and digital distribution. Bands can do so much on their own now that the thought of landing a record deal just isn’t as appealing as it used to be. Basically things are the exact opposite now as opposed to when we were younger.

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About The Author

Cory is a graduate from Monmouth University with a B.A. in Music Business. Always advancing the NJ scene, he is owner of Harrison Promotions and Management based out of Cowerks in the Lakehouse building in Asbury Park, NJ. Cory's work as a national/regional/local talent buyer has led him to booking and promoting some of the best talent in the Northeast. He'll be overseeing the 1st annual Jersey Shore Music Festival on July 20th, 2013 in Lakewood, NJ.

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