A Brand New show is always an occasion.
Review: Brand New, Live in London
Enigmatic Long Islanders make a welcome return to the UK
Their reputation as the most unpredictable of live acts is well known yet their legion of fans is unfalteringly dedicated, routinely buying every single ticket available at large venues in the UK, no matter if the band are actually doing anything release-wise. In fact, seeing Brand New time and time again just proves that this legion of fans are never going to stop heaping love upon those unforgettable first Brand New releases with singalongs to the likes of Seventy Times 7 and Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t reaching epic proportions. Tonight’s setlist, at least, is a true Greatest Hits representation of the band’s back catalogue, though Jesse Lacey and his cohorts, with their penchant for backlit stages and lack of on-stage chat, clearly remain somewhat of an enigma.
The Front Bottoms kicked off proceedings with their quirk-filled alt/punk/folk. Main support Saves The Day chip in with a decent set, providing nostalgia with classics Shoulder To The Wheel and At Your Funeral. However, they ultimately fall rather flat with Chris Conley’s bizarrely high-pitched voice growing ever higher pitched. As one onlooker noted “It must be strange to be a grown man with a child’s voice.” Quite.
Saves The Day may have preceded Brand New but tonight makes it clear that the Long Island quartet have become the true heroes and trailblazers of the scene. Always a formidable live presence despite a lack of predictability, tonight the band soar in front of the most partisan of crowds. The rapturous response to classic songs in the set is very nearly matched by the crowd’s devouring of tracks off 2006's masterful The D_evil And God Are Raging Inside Me album and it’s these songs which really shine through as the band at their pinnacle, its teasing intros and crushing crescendos commanding the rapt attention of everyone in the room. _Millstone and Jesus are ominous and cathartic all at the same time and set closer You Won’t Know sees the band tease the audience with that expert softly softly repetitive intro eventually crashing into its culminating apocalyptic noise which is ramped up significantly in the live spectrum versus on record. Brand New’s often bleak aesthetic is nonetheless a supremely impressive one which leaves the audience sated for now but definitely ready for the band’s not-quite-inevitable-but-definitely-hoped-for return.