On the night before Thanksgiving, Brand New would make a stop in Connecticut on their way to a homecoming show on Long Island. While it would have been easy to mail it in knowing home was less than two hours away, the band put in another great effort, ripping though old favorites as well as the majority of tracks from their latest effort, Daisy.
Just like in Boston a week earlier (read my review here), new songs received only a luke-warm reception, while cuts such as “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” and “Okay I Believe You but my Tommy Gun Don’t” had the crowd up in arms. The only disappointing aspect of the set was that it was about 15 minutes shorter than their Boston effort and excluded other fan favorites such as “Mixed Tape” and “The Shower Scene.”
The shorter set shouldn’t take away from the fact that Jesse Lacey and Co. were once again first-rate, proving that even when they should have one foot out the door, they’re still one of today’s great live bands.
Brand New, Glassjaw, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale New York
November 29th 2009
You would think this one would deserve its own review, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, Brand New’s biggest ever headlining show didn’t quite live
up to expectations. With support from a hand full of their favorite bands at an arena just minutes from where they grew up, I think everyone who made their way inside the Nassau Coliseum was expecting something special. What they got was something very ordinary.
The main reason the show wasn’t the rousing success it should have been was the time constraints placed on each band. Five acts on one stage is too many, and it became quite obvious when openers Kevin Devine, Manchester Orchestra, and Thrice were all limited to very short sets. Main support Glassjaw was allowed to play longer, and put on the type of show that has made them Long Island legends, at least to those who mixed it up on the floor of the cavernous arena. Daryl Palumbo was at his deranged best, singing and screaming his vocal cords to shreds.
The best way to describe the headliners set would be “loud.” The speakers which towered above the stage pumped out the type of sound that could finally do justice to tracks such as “Sink” and “Gasoline.” The band did their part by turning in the frenzied performance all of their fans have come to expect. There was very little between song banter for a hometown show, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering Jessey Lacey is rarely one to wax poetic in such situations.
The most memorable moment of the night was not an individual song, but was when the band finally paused to look around at the thousands of occupied seats stretching high up the rafters. Understated as always, Lacey simply said “This is big… Bigger than my bedroom.”
The band closed the set with “Seventy Times 7” much sooner than the crowd had hoped, most likely due to a curfew imposed by the venue. While the thousands who filed out of the arena left satisfied, this should have been the type of show that is talked about for years to come, but I doubt that will be the case. The second acoustic stage featuring old favorites Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit was a very nice touch, as were the four bands who opened on the main stage. However, the next time Brand New returns to Long Island, hopefully they will keep the focus where it belongs, which is squarely on themselves.
Shorty before the release of their fourth record Daisy in September, Brand New announced what was by far the most ambitious touring plans of their career. Not only would they play the biggest clubs in cities across the country, they would play multiple nights in a number of these cities, and then finish the trek with a hometown stop at the massive Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. At first, I doubted the band’s ability to pull this off, and was expecting a whole lot of half-empty venues.
My expectation were pretty far off. Despite Daisy’s mixed reviews, the House of Blues in Boston was sold out for the second straight night when Brand New stepped on stage November 18th. Having seen the band a number of times, I can honestly say that no two performances are ever the same, and this may have been the strangest, and at times most satisfying I’ve witnessed from band.
The night began with a largely ignored 25 minute set from Crime in Stereo. The band ran into the same problems I feel plague them on CD, mainly the fact that it is difficult to hear lead singer Kristian Hallbert’s vocals over the music.
Next up was long-dormant Long Island legends Glassjaw. Considering the band hadn’t toured in nearly three years, I
wasn’t sure what to expect. I had seen them once before, and I must say they weren’t nearly as impressive on this occasion. While they played their blend of aggressive yet melodic hardcore with near surgical precision, they didn’t seem all that interested to be on stage.
The quartet, who aligned themselves in a circle with bassist Manny Carrero facing away from the crowd, played a mix of songs from their two full length records, as well as a few new tracks including “Jesus Glue.” The setlist had the crowd at times in a furry, and at other times in a state of confusion. Seeing that it was mainly the former, the crowd didn’t seem to mind the band’s relative indifference.
After an excruciatingly long 45 minute wait, Brand New finally took the stage and openned with the instrumental “Walcome To Bangkok.” While the band had used an extended version of the track as an epic closing number on previous tours, this true-to-the-album version served as more of a warm-up than a showstopper.
The Long Island quintet would then get things rolling with “Sink” and “Degausser” before charging into the explosive combination of “You Won’t Know,” “Tommy Gun,” “Sic Transit Gloria,” “The Quite Things that No One Every Knows,” and finally “Mix Tape.” This string of crowd favorites featured Brand New at their very finest.
After enigmatic front man Jesse Lacey completed an eerie solo version of “Limousine,” the band would showcase new material from Daisy. Much like the record itself, the results were mixed. While Brand New nailed the new, more technically challenging songs, the crowd’s enthusiasm dropped through the floor, as those at the front suddenly fell silent and still.
The crowd finally snapped out of their funk later in the set when Band New ripped though two of their fastest and most energetic songs, “The Shower Scene” and “The Archers Bows Have Broken.” This were followed by “At the Bottom,” the Daisy lead single which received the best response of any of the new songs.
Instead of leaving the stage before the encore, Lacey instead began to strum the tune to “Wild Thing,” which he explained by saying “Sometimes this yellow guitar just wants to play ‘Wild Thing,’ what can I say.” What would a Brand New show be without at least one head-scratching moment?
After over an hour and half on stage, the band would finally bring the show to a close by giving the fans exactly what they wanted: the combination of “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” and “Seventy Times 7.” While Lacey and Co. once refused to play these songs live, they seem to have embraced the Your Favorite Weapon classics as the perfect way to end a show.
Those at the front were throughly exhausted and made their exit completely content with what they had just witnessed. However, it was difficult to ignore the lukewarm reception to nearly every Daisy track. While the band seems to relish the fact their new record has polarized their fan base, you have to wonder how much they enjoy a packed venue that suddenly goes still whenever they play a song like “Bought a Bride.”
Reaction or no reaction, I’m sure the band isn’t going to stray away from their new songs anytime soon. As Brand New has proven throughout their career, they aren’t going to let the silence of spectators or changing trends affect what they do as a band, either in the studio or in a live setting.