I have to start by confessing that I love Brand New. Although their fans have rarely been treated well by them, they still flock when a rare UK tour is announced. Before this, it was a sold out Wembley Arena gig, this time we have something a bit more substantial. But with no new album in five years, or even any news to share, loyalties maybe starting to become a little strained.
The crowd woke up after Saves the Day to give Brand New a huge reception, then they launched straight for the jugular with ‘Sink’ and ‘Gasoline’, two of the more volatile songs in their arsenal from the album ‘Vices’. Characteristically quiet, it seems strange to see Jesse without a hood up. From here on in the songs came in chunks from each album, a kind of three song best of, leaving out the obvious end of set contenders. The big surprise was that after the best picks, they threw in ‘Flying at Tree Level’, an early track known to some, confusing and out of place to others.
With a tail end containing of ‘Quiet things’, ‘Jesus’ and ‘Degausser’, it really should have felt so much bigger, and much more impactful. There’s no doubt that the bulk of those at the front were going batshit crazy for the likes of ‘Seventy Times 7’, the songs themselves are brilliant, but it was in the delivery that the gig failed to make any lasting feeling.
Too many times their demeanour felt lacklustre. Even being the first gig of the tour, you can understand technical issues, but the large lulls between songs killed the flow. Whether deliberate or not, it simply felt like, here’s a song, now wait, here’s a song, now wait. Dare I say it, but there was no showmanship in their performance. Sure hair was thrown about by those who had enough, but there definitely wasn’t enough giving in this relationship.
So it turned out to be a mini ‘Best Of’ gig with no real surprises, or heart. Technically Brand New are superb, but at this gig they certainly did not do themselves or their fans any real justice.
Words by Justin Parry