I saw Brand New with Modest Mouse at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA on Thursday July 28. Here are my thoughts. (Disclaimer: written at 3am)
Brand New and Modest Mouse are embarking on a tour together as co-headliners which is an interesting concept. There are no opening bands which I’m definitely okay with, and both bands play headlining sets. It seems like a great idea for fans and for marketing purposes, but in reality it’s a bit awkward. The tour managers should have realized that Brand New and Modest Mouse do not have the same fan base. Brand New is simply far more emo/punk rock/generally louder than Modest Mouse.
It also appeared that the majority of concertgoers were there for Brand New, and so the Modest Mouse set was very mellow and not all that enthusiastic. The band actually tried to punk-up their music probably to blend better with Brand New. Everything went a lot harder than in the recorded version, but still the crowd wasn’t particularly enthusiastic.
I actually really did enjoy Modest Mouse’s set. I thought it sounded great and was super fun. It was just conspicuously less exciting than Brand New’s set. There were a few people around me and my date in Modest Mouse shirts who left partway into Brand New’s set. Whether they were unaware of how emo Brand New is or simply had only bought a ticket to see Modest Mouse I do not know, but regardless I felt bad for them. The tour was advertised as two bands playing equal sets, but this was obviously not the case. The Modest Mouse fans got short changed.
The energy of the crowd and the stage changed drastically for Brand New’s set. Roadies wheeled huge panels of LED lights onstage providing us with awesome visuals throughout Brand New’s set, and the mosh pit was extremely (perhaps terrifyingly) energetic for Brand New.
Brand New’s set was really everything I hoped for. I’d seen Brand New three times before and heard them play the majority of my favorite songs. The only songs I hadn’t seen and desired to hear live were a few songs off Deja. And they played them! I was so freaking excited! (Please read my previous posts about Brand New to hear more about the band’s music and my personal connection to/thoughts on the band).
My date and I hung back a little so we wouldn’t get pushed which was a good call. I go to a lot of shows, and I totally love to get sweaty, pushed around and feel the crowd. However, the first time I saw Brand New at the Fox in Oakland the crowd up front was so aggressive I couldn’t even stand up (I’m a small person and stand O chance in a pushing match with big male concertgoers). When I saw Brand New in Barcelona and Paris the crowd was rowdy but much more mellow and perfect for me. I didn’t want to deal with fearing for my body this time around so we hung back. I’m glad we did. I’ve never seen the Greek that rowdy. The pit was totally insane (there was even a huge meathead guy who took his shirt off), and crowd surfers were flying every which way. There was even a rogue fangirl who jumped up on stage and got tackled by security! Basically it was really exciting and a typically rambunctious & punk rock Brand New show that I was happy to watch from a comfortable distance. Also we had a perfect view of the stage from where we were.
It was a great set. The crowd was into it. Jesse was into it. Vin was fucking crazy into it. The sound was good. The lights were dope. And everything had this exciting but sad feeling of finality. Goodbye tours tend to be the best.