Best In Show: Brand New @ Guelph Concert Theatre 3-Aug-2012
This was that night that I met Jesse Lacey. In the next few days I’ll release that interview (the first in 3 years with a North American outlet as far as I can tell), which I hope will shed some light on the truth and depth of Jesse and Brand New’s honest, genuine and humble nature. EDIT: the band have been doing interviews on this Canadian leg. Here’s one with Vue Weekly.
Aside from the interview, which I learned of just the morning of, I was set to attend the show in Guelph as a fan anyway. The second their first Canadian tour in three years was announced, greedy hands snatched all possible tickets up. I was lucky to get two.
It’s hard to detach the interview from the show but I’ll do my best. First off, the venue was a cool room with character and little-to-no air conditioning. With the heavy crowd the space was near stifling but it’s hard to complain when you understand how special a night can become with a band. Thankfully, all possibilities were met.
Openers An Horse and Cursive owned the crowd and stage. An Horse, a duo from Australia performed a short but memorable set of punchy, indie rock songs with Jesse Lacey filling in on base duties. The three on stage looked to be having fun, enjoying the appreciative crowd and holding nothing back. There’s was an energy rooted in heartfelt vocals and pure confidence on stage. Cursive hammered through a set of their unique but powerful brand of rock complete with jaunty time signatures, emphatic percussion and the always-appreciated live horns. Although I’m not a huge fan of their work it is hard not to respect the energy and quality of their songs.
When Brand New took to the stage it was with an air of accessibility. Some have described their presence on stage as detached but the time away and the general head space of the band seemed refreshing and excited. Solar temperatures mattered not to those in the crowd as the opening notes of “Millstone” led to deafening chorus chants from the crowd, all screaming “Woah-o-ooo” in unison.
With a healthy mix of songs from all four albums, the band anchored a memorable experience to every person in the room. Jesse’s voice sounded incredible live (as always), spanning the range from “Tautou” to “Vices” without falter.
Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the show was how much fun the band seemed to be having on stage. Smiles were shared regularly along with some Nirvana and Modest Mouse jams. They even made light of some broken equipment with some generous jam time.
Something that I haven’t ever really felt the full effect from before was lighting but something about the timing and colour of their use Friday night really stood out. It was almost another member of the band, an entity that was engaging and vivid.
This is the sixth time I’ve seen Brand New and something that has never waivered is their complete almost self-destructive performance energy. Jesse admitted that the closing songs might send him into unconsciousness but somehow found more to give to the crowd. Those that got set-lists after complained that although “Play Crack the Sky” and “Welcome to Bangkok” were there, they weren’t played but in all seriousness I could barely breathe or stand after the completely drenching and explosive ender that was “You Won’t Know”, the ending of which had Jesse laying on the stage still playing guitar near his fallen microphone.
There’s so much more to a live experience with Brand New but those things are coveted and treasured by those that lived them. To everyone in the Guelph Concert Theatre that night, kudos, and to the band that will forever be cherished by me and the other attendees that night, we thank you…we thank you exponentially.
Stay tuned for the article/interview with Jesse Lacey and some pictures from infront of the barrier later this week.
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