Brand New at the Greek

Brand New – Berkeley

Brand New teaming up with Modest Mouse for a co-headlining tour didn’t seem too far fetched when it was announced early in the year, it’s been done by other great bands before, sharing a major sold out tour with an band that was instrumental in their sound. Although I didn’t have a problem with their sound mix at First City Fest in Monterey as many attendees did, I couldn’t stick around their set at Sasquatch two years ago. After two songs, I ejected out. As reviews from the beginning of the tour started showing up, the excitement to see Modest Mouse again for the 5th time started dwindling. A new album nor a packed venues motivated Isaac & Co. to fix the sound issues. Although it was much much easier on the ears, the drums negated a lot of the other instruments and especially the vocals suffered greatly. A friend who had joined us, curiously asked me what language the lyrics were being sung in. I’ve been seeing Modst Mouse for twelve years now, and it’s sad to see them performances go down hill. At least they did the crowd a service and focused their energy and noise to get everyone to their feet and start jumping around. While at the merch table after their set, we noticed a great deal of people exiting, not sure if they felt the same way, or if they didn’t care for the headlining band.

This was the sixth time I’ve seen Brand New, and they just keep getting better and better. The show at the Greek was a crowd pleaser for both new attendees and the veterans. At a glance it’s easy to think Brand New is another pop punk emo act cashing in on the nostalgia of yester years, but they keep proving to be much more. Announcing they’ll be calling it quits in 2018, and no promise of a final album, and slew of releases, whether they are singles or remastered demos, they’ve been really busy for a band that’s on its way out.

This tour was the most stage production I’ve seen Brand New execute, and for how big of a jump it was to the LED lights and screens, they pulled it off flawlessly. Still keep their original stage presence of the low lights and silhouettes, Jesse Lacey started their set with a new-ish track, Sealed to Me, in the dark and and lone spotlight upon him. And when the rest of the band had taken their spots they dove into Vices and Gasoline. Still continuing with their darker songs such as Millstone and Noro before lightening up the mood with Sic Transit Gloria… and that’s around the time the LED screens came into play. The crowd was even more energized for the second half of the set as the hits still continued to roll out. Lighters came out for Limousine, and another new track I Am a Nightmare was well received. The final two songs of the night, were a combination of extended versions and a quick encore break, once again committed to delivering a live show above and beyond other bands of their era and genre. Lyrically miles ahead, and the quality of song writing, they’ve more than proven to hold strong literary value. Also their musicianship and handle of effect pedals is noteworthy. We’re bombarded by psudeo post hardcore acts, that fake audiences into thinking it’s interesting, just cause they fiddled with reverb and delay pedals. I remember witnessing them manipulate sound and control it to encircle the auditorium and to let it decimate once it went around full circle again. That was like in 2008. And they’re still turning up the sound and making songs heavier and better. Really wished they weren’t ending in a couple of years, Brand New is a well established touring act that’s not to be missed so catch them while you still can.

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