It's not often that a band garners encore-like chants from their fans before a show unless it's an arena band such as Bon Jovi or U2. However, this was the scene at Mesa Ampitheatre Thursday 10 minutes before Brand New greeted the fairly packed house.
The Long Island punk act took the stage at 8:30 p.m. and played for a little over an hour covering a total of 16 tracks from a span of four albums (2001's Your Favorite Weapon, 2003's Deja Entendu, 2006's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and Daisy, which was released late last month). They kicked off the night with "You Won't Know" from The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and seemlessly broke into "Degausser," my personal favorite from their third disc. Their stage set-up was simple. There were no pyrotechnics or awesome light displays. Instead the stage was stripped, aside from a couple of screens behind the stage displaying black and white imagery. It was clear the band wanted to keep the focus on its music and that's just where it should be.
The group bounced through years of material, shining on favorites like "Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades," "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" and "Jaws Theme Swimming" from Deja Entendu. Other highlights included "Sowing Season," "At the Bottom," "Archers" and the encore, "Play Crack the Sky." Sultry frontman Jesse Lacey crooned and wailed his way through the set, proving he's one hell of a singer. "He's not going to have a voice tomorrow," my friend Holly lamented, clearly impressed with his vocal range.
The only disappointment? I wish the band would have swapped a song or two out for "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows," one of their big singles from Deja Entendu, or "Soco Amaretto Lime," a Brand New fan fave, from Your Favorite Weapon. Nonetheless, we'll forgive 'em this time.
Set List: "You Won't Know," "Degausser," "Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades," "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't," "Jaws Theme Swimming," "No Seatbelt Song," "Vices," "Sowing Season (Yeah)," "You Stole," "In A Jar," "Luca," "Archers," "Jesus Christ," "Bought a Bride," "At the Bottom" and "Play Crack the Sky."
Last Night: Brand New at Mesa Amiptheatre
Better Than: Most hardcore screamo bands Alternative Press Magazine deems news worthy and flaunts on their glossy pages.
Personal Bias: Deja Entendu, the group's 2003 disc filled with long-winded song titles, is one of my favorite albums. Ever. The lyrics are clever, haunting and hard to get out of your head.
Random Detail: The band's frontman Jesse Lacey is smokin' hot in addition to being uber talented. Very few people in this world make me nervous, but I lost my vocabulary when my friend, who was tour managing Thrice at the time, introduced me to him backstage at the Brand New/Thrice show at The Dodge Theatre two or three years ago.
Further Listening: Daisy, the band's newest disc, which they dropped last month.
By The Way: The guy at the concession stand took our bottle caps from our water and gave us capless Dasani water bottles. When I asked why, he said it's because people throw the caps at the stage and the bands get annoyed. What the fuck? Grow up, Hot Topic kids.
One More Thing: Believe it or not, Brand New's 2001 debut disc Your Favorite Weapon, which is a fan favorite after several years, is actually a pop-punk album.