Brand New

support Mewithoutyou
author DY date 13/02/07 venue Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK

It seems I am cursed when it comes to arriving at gigs in time to watch the support bands play. Tonight, with the first support Jeremy Enigk ill and subsequently off the entire European tour, the only support act was Mewithoutyou, a band that I was very much looking forward to watching. But once again disaster strikes; this time on the train, halfway to London. So I'm just pulling into Surbiton station when I realise I've gone and left the blasted tickets at home! Yes, I know what you're thinking - what an absolute muppet. And I wholeheartedly agree. You can imagine the utter frustration I had with myself after making such a royal bodge up of things, and having to go all the way back home to get them and start my journey all over again. Luckily I was in good company and managed to put the unfortunate event behind me and look forward to the headliners.

Brand New

So I arrived at the venue at about 20.45, just enough time to dump my bag in the cloakroom and grab a drink before Brand New took the stage.

As Explosions In The Sky played from the speakers, I pushed my way as close to the front of the jam-packed venue as I could without dismembering myself. The entire 8000 capacity venue was completely sold out tonight, and you could feel it; both in the atmosphere and in the form of the sweaty teenage torsos that pressed snugly against you. You could also smell it too, unsurprisingly. This is the kind of buzz you get at a show of a band with such a dedicated following as Brand New, who from previous shows have led fans to have high such expectations of them, and never disappointed.

The show opened (for what turned about to be the first of several times) with vocalist/guitarist Jesse Lacey appearing on stage alone, playing an acoustic rendition of "Jude Law And A Semester Abroad", and immediately the sing along fest began with the words "No mooooooore songs about you, after this one I am done, you are, you are, you're gone" resounding around the venue.

Once the song was done, Jesse left the stage and the lights went down for about 30 seconds, before the full band leapt on stage and exploded into "Seventy Times 7", another track from their debut album "Your + Favourite + Weapon". This is where the show seemed to start for real (although not for the last time), and the crowd completely lost control, and I mean lost control. Yes I expected some pushing and some dancing in the crowd, especially during the band's faster punkier songs like this one, but not the huge great circle pits that began opening up too. I pondered for a second about when hardcore kids had started coming to Brand New shows…

It was all part of the good fun and hysteria, however, and the band pushed on through three more dynamite songs from their aforementioned debut album. You may be wondering though, why a band who are touring the UK for the first time since releasing a new album, has played 5 songs all from an album released over 5 years ago. I was too, although happily because I could listen to the album all day. But as it turned out, this was the beginning of something wonderful…

After once again dimming the lights and leaving the stage, the band returned, kicking off the show for the third time in a more familiar way, with the common opener "Tautou" from their sophomore album. To my delight the band then played their album "Deja Entendu" in its entirety and in order, bar one song, which was in a word, awesome. To make things better, the sound in the venue was just right, and the band was completely on form, playing each song with both emotion and confidence. Songs like "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" and "Guernica" got the whole audience off their feet and the mosh pits in full flow, whilst the slower "Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis" provided a stark contrast. The only downside I could pick out was that Jesse rarely talked to the audience between songs, and I think the only time I saw him smile was whilst he was giving his (clearly very sincere) thanks to both the touring staff and the audience for all their support and for coming to the shows. But having said that, listening to "Deja Entendu" you don't imagine him singing it with a smile on his face either, given the deep, dark nature of the album.

After ending the album set with the beautiful acoustic "Play Crack The Sky", the band once again left the stage, but leaving no doubt that they would be back for more. The crowd were smart enough to have figured out the logic to the evening, as the band moved through the sections in parallel to their albums, which I thought was a great idea. Sure enough, the New York four-piece (plus Jesse's cousin Derrick Sherman, who plays live rhythm guitar and piano since 06) returned after a short break, for the third and final section of their show. The band opened with the instrumental "Welcome To Bangkok" from their newest album "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me" and continued on to play 5 other songs from the same release. Despite the fact that the album has received mixed reviews, the songs were extremely well received by the crowd, especially the stand out tracks "Sowing Season (Yeah)", "Jesus Christ" and "Degausser". Jesse does an amazing job of really bringing these songs to life, with the impressive vocal range and passion he displays when he sings. Guitarist Vin Accardi provides some amusing entertainment also, with his "I'm high as a kite" dance moves.

The show ended with Jesse looking almost at the point of an emotional breakdown, pouring himself into his microphone, shouting, "you won't know!" before throwing the microphone hard onto the stage and walking off, leaving the feedback and lights to slowly die out. All in all, tonight's show was superb; a great setlist showcasing songs from each of the band's three very different albums in three sections, and each one delivered with all the heart and passion you could have wished for. Once again, the guys don't fall short of their ridiculously high standards.

9

Setlist:

Section 1:

  • 01. 'Jude Law And A Semester Abroad'
  • 02. 'Seventy Times 7'
  • 03. 'The Shower Scene'
  • 04. 'The No Seatbelt Song'
  • 05. 'Soco Amaretto Lime'
  • Section 2:
  • 06. 'Tautou'
  • 07. 'Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades'
  • 08. 'I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light'
  • 09. 'Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
  • 10. 'The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows'
  • 11. 'The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot'
  • 12. 'Jaws Theme Swimming'
  • 13. 'Me Vs. Maradona Vs Elvis'
  • 14. 'Guernica'
  • 15. 'Play Crack The Sky'
  • Section 3:
  • 16. 'Welcome To Bangkok'
  • 17. 'Luca'
  • 18. 'Sowing Season (Yeah)'
  • 19. 'Jesus Christ'
  • 20. 'Degausser'
  • 21. 'You Won't Know'

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