Brand New / October 6, 2009 / St. Louis, MO (The Pageant)
Brand New might have scored a top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 with its recently released album, "Daisy," but you wouldn't know it from the band's live show.
The Long Island emo rockers took the stage bathed in slivers of white light and delayed guitar riffs before kicking off the night with "You Won't Know," from 2006's "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me." Whether the band was pandering to the crowd's old-school taste or just testing the waters before unleashing a bevy of new songs, the rapid succession of old material was a puzzling way to begin the night. It wasn't until the band's seventh song that the feverish, sold-out crowd even got a taste of "Daisy."
"I'm not sure I have enough air in my lungs for this, but what the hell?" vocalist Jesse Lacey asked before ripping into the fiery "Vices," the down-tuned, sludgy opening track on "Daisy."
Throughout the night, Lacey put on his best doom-and-gloom attitude while plodding his way through explosive full-band fare (the grungy "You Stole," "Gasoline") and poignant solo numbers ("The No Seatbelt Song" and set-closer "Play Crack the Sky"). His Morrissey-esque timbre and reclusive attitude eventually lightened up by the end of the set, but his downtrodden mood set the tone for the entire night.
If Lacey was the definition of reserved onstage, guitarist Vin Accardi was a veritable ball of energy. As Lacey bobbed his head slowly with near disinterest, Accardi raced across the stage, thrashing and head-banging while the band's backdrop played sepia-toned non-sequitur videos of boxing dogs, exploding hearts and splitting cells reminiscent that conjured up memories of Nine Inch Nails. Indeed, the entire night was an amalgam of the band's influences: the visuals of Nine Inch Nails combined with the angular riffs and brash vocals of Modest Mouse and Nirvana-inspired noise-rock.
The night's highlight was "Jesus," the powerful second single from "The Devil and the God," which was backed here by a sparse, striking video of ominous fog. Elsewhere, the band dressed up the slow-burning "Jaws Theme Swimming" with a new intro and inserted an improvised guitar solo into fan favorite "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't," eliciting one of the largest fan sing-alongs of the night.
Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra set the mood with a moody, ear-splitting set of Southern-fried rock that did very little to showcase the band's songwriting talent. Instead of displaying frontman Andy Hull's lyrical aptitude and inventive song structure, the wall of distorted guitars left some in the audience plugging their ears with their fingers.
Here is Brand New's setlist:
"You Won't Know"
"Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't"
"Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades"
"Jaws Theme Swimming"
"The No Seatbelt Song"
"In a Jar"
"The Archers Bows Have Broken"
"Bought a Bride"
"At the Bottom"
"Play Crack the Sky"