Brand New Makes Me Cry

In case you didn’t know I really love Brand New (see past posts). This song absolutely gets me every time.

I’ve got desperate desires and unadmirable plans
My tongue will taste of gin and malicious intent
Bring you back to the bar
Get you out of the cold
A sober, straight face gets you out of your clothes
And they’re scared that we know
All the crimes they’ll commit
Who they’ll kiss before they get home

I will lie awake
Lie for fun and fake the way I hold you
Let you fall for every empty word I say

Brand New / Modest Mouse: Concert Review

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.

Jesse Sings Wish You Were Here

OK this video is poor quality for which I apologize. The other night in Austin Jesse (Jesse Lacey of Brand New) did an acoustic cover of Wish You Were Here which is without doubt my favorite Pink Floyd song since I was little. How good does it sound? I’m seeing Brand New with Modest Mouse at the Greek on Thursday, and the excitement is bubbling up and spilling over. It will be my 4th and most likely last time seeing them because they’re breaking up (see my post). I just can’t wait. I’ve been obsessively reading recent setlists, and it appears that they’ve been playing super long sets with lots of Deja and ahhhh! Can’t wait. Hoping for a fun weird acoustic cover from Jesse.

Moshi Moshi

Brand New has quite a few interesting Japan references in their super early stuff (like Moshi Moshi) and also in their newer stuff (Mene). Moshi Moshi is conceivably the cutest song ever though, and I love it. My ex and I used to sing it together ALL THE TIME. I vividly remember us singing it walking all the way back to his house from Outside Lands last year.  I’ll also say that Moshi Moshi wasn’t ever really released by Brand New. The original version of the song is on an old Brand New / Safety in Numbers split, and an acoustic version is on the “Friends” Fadeaway records collaboration (I have that record in a cool blue black marble!!). Also Tigers Jaw (another band I love) does a dope acoustic cover. Below are some cute Moshi Moshi lyrics.

I know that you’re an angel, 
though you could never stay true 
Hey angel, I think your halo has a screw loose, 
’cause you dropped me like a brick off the rooftop of your high school 
Could I watch the next time you’re applying your eyeliner? 
I waste all my time just thinking of you

Brand New

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Jesse Lacey at the show in Barcelona

So Brand New, one of my all time favorite bands, is breaking up (I’ve known for a while so it’s not a fresh wound). I thought I’d take the time to write about what I like most about the band and my personal connection to their music.

The personal connection part:

Below is a video I took of Jesse singing Soco (encore) in Paris last summer. It was a small venue and a very mixed crowd–primarily UK if I had to say. My then boyfriend and I had seen Brand New two days prior in Barcelona, and then we traveled to Paris to see them again. Both shows were incredible. In Barcelona we saw them right on the water. They played a lot of Devil and God. In Paris they played a pretty balanced set with a bit from each album. Jesse also covered Pop Queen by Ben Lee (probably for his wife who was there). The Soco encore was the highlight of everything (for me). It was always a special song to me and my ex (we actually made up our own recipe for soco amaretto limes and made bartenders all over europe make them for us).

After the show we were hanging around in the bar chatting with some Belgian guy, and then we ran into Vin and later Jesse who introduced us to his wife Andrea. My ex, a big baseball fan, was always concerned as to why Jesse would wear a wide variety of different team’s hats (oakland athletics, anaheim angels etc). Jesse explained to us that he collects hats with A on them for his wife Andrea.

We’re not together anymore, and it’s strange getting the official news about Brand New’s eminent breakup without him (we knew it was coming for a while but still). We just shared  Brand New and those shows and those moments. It’s interesting and weird to me how closely we associate music to people and memories. Especially as someone who is always listening to and exploring music, I find myself associating certain albums and songs to almost every single memory I have.

I think it makes perfect sense that Brand New is breaking up. If I was Jesse I wouldn’t want to keep singing my angsty, depressed younger self’s diary over and over again either. I actually don’t listen to Brand New very often anymore. I feel more or less the same way Jesse does: I’m happier now, and I don’t need the songs anymore. Nonetheless the idea of Brand New ceasing to exist as a band sucks. It feels like a time and part of me is being taken away.

 

The music blogger part:

Brand New defines emo, but they have a hell of a lot of range. When I first discovered them what I found most intriguing was that each album sounded completely different from the album before it. How is it possible for a band to reinvent itself so often but still be recognizable and good?

Your Favorite Weapon. Deja Entendu. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Daisy.

YFW was Brand New’s first album, and this is totally obvious when you listen to it. It isn’t bad (it could be my favorite!); it’s just dripping in pop punk teenage angst. “Girl, come to me. / The only brokenhearted loser you’ll ever need, / or I’ll be left alone forever with my magazines.” I mean it’s catchy and fun with great guitar riffs, but you know they’re teenagers. I love it to death.

Deja is still dripping in self-indulgent angst, but it is far darker and more introspective. It’s a depressing album and their bestselling album! It was my absolute favorite record for a solid year. I would listen to it basically on repeat. Couldn’t stop. And I would never shuffle it I would always listen all the way through. Deja is very much meant to be listened to as an album. It brilliantly tells a story of love and depression and desire and is also aesthetically cyclical and complete. It’s a departure from the complete pop punk of YFW but not completely. It certainly fits perfectly into “emo” as a genre and is why Brand New is labeled “emo.”

Devil and God is probably Brand New’s most mature album to date. Lyrically it addresses far more complicated themes (not just wanting the girl). Stylistically the album is also more complex. The songs get longer and louder and weirder. The lyrics are more angry than sad or angsty. It sounds totally different from YFW, but one can easily tell that Deja and Devil and God are by the same artist.

Daisy is certainly the Brand New album I’ve listened to the least (I’ve still listened to it a lot). Certain songs sound totally different from anything  Brand New has done and others are easily recognizable. There are certain artistic high points on the album–notably “Vices”,”At the Bottom”, and “Sink”–but I’ve never felt that it’s particularly stunning as an album. The songs are insanely fun live though.

 

Brand New is awesome, and I will miss them.