This gig signalled my third time seeing Long Islanders, Brand New a firm favourite of mine for a few years now. They came into my life during my first year of university, a year for which any of you who have been to university will know, is a year of: tumultuous change, learning to fend for yourself in the big bad world, balancing studying and serious partying, consuming pasta daily and dealing with various amounts of mould and non-functioning appliances within your living confines. With Jesse Lacey’s raw, emotional lyrics and the band’s mix of melodious anthems and sheer pop punk songs, Brand New fast became the soundtrack to this era of my life.
As I was slightly late, misjudging how long it would take to get to Camden from Brighton, I missed the opening support act, The Xcerts. I certainly didn’t miss I Am The Avalanche, bursting onto the stage and giving my ears a definite blasting. I have been to a fair few gigs but this made me question the need for earplugs and the possible onset of tinnitus. Charismatic vocalist, Vinnie Caruana interspersed the music with witty anecdotes including the possible theft of his iPod (questionable whether it was amusing for him) which he concluded could have been left in a ‘fridge or something’. I intend to listen to them as when my ears weren’t screaming at me for the volume, they had some pretty nice melodies. As more people began to wander into the circular pit and a few proclaiming the classic ‘Oh I can’t see (insert name)! Excuse me I just need to get to my friends I’ve lost them’ whilst trailing another ten fibbers with them- it could only mean the band’s entrance was imminent. Opening with instrumental number ‘Welcome to Bangkok’, four songs from third album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me followed. This album dominated the setlist, unusual it may seem as recent album Daisy succeeded it but it is a fan favourite and it seems the band’s also. Highlights included, personal favourites of mine ‘Seventy Times 7’ with its cutting lyrics about betrayed friendship, ‘Soco Amaretto Lime’ an ode to being eighteen, and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Limousine (MS Rebridge)’ inspired by the accidental death of a young girl in Long Island, New York.
To anyone who hasn’t listened to Brand New it can be difficult to describe their musical style, as it changes from album to album. Debut record Your Favorite Weapon is all pop punk angst dotted with anthemic melodies on youth and that thing called love. Sophomore effort, Deja Entendu gathers comparisons to the ’emo’ genre of music, which I can see due to the subject matter of its songs, but I think it is much more than that. Lacey’s lyrics are beautiful, with every song telling a story and the overall sound of the record is matured from its predecessor. The lyrics are the one steadfast of Brand New’s repertoire. The following two albums carry this but with a darker edge. Basically, each album presents something new whilst retaining what is so residually great about the band- their knack for a brilliant and catchy melody and Jesse Lacey’s lyrical genius.
I can’t praise the band enough they are one of the best live bands I’ve seen, always performing an intense and enthralling show.
The setlist for the show was as follows:
Welcome to Bangkok
The Archers Bows Have Broken
Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades
Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t
The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
Seventy Times 7
Soco Amaretto Lime
Limousine (MS Rebridge)
You Won’t Know