Gary's Fantastic Music Reviews: Brand New - Wembley Arena, 23/01/10


Jan 27 2010, 23h32

Check out the original version of this review here at Gary's Fantastic Music Reviews.

Some bands have got it, others don't. It's that simple. When it comes to stepping up the act to arena-size proportions, the cracks really start showing. Unless you're fantastic. Unless you're Brand New.

Trudging your way through the incessant pitfalls of the music biz is not an easy thing to do, and less easy to make any success from it. But the real difficulty - the proper nut-buster - is coming out the other end with your integrity intact. Writing songs you want to hear, not what the label demands. It is a hard life, and obviously Brand New are one of the few groups out there who have made it to this size with said nuts hanging firmly in place.

But that's digressing. I seem to be good at that. Turning our attention the evening at hand, we have three bands on the bill (including headliners BN), all of which intelligently attract the same crowd. A veritable Mecca for the disenfranchised. Judging by their appearance, the audience most definitely all belong to a scene (and almost all are wearing checked shirts), but their passion for the music goes undimmed. First up we have Thrice, moody post-hardcore rockers who do well to whip up a snail tornado of gutfelt singing and shimmering, dirty guitars. Glassjaw fit the music nicely, but their drab sound mix deflates any real opportunity for headbanging. I hear you screaming down the mic, Daryl Palumbo, but not about the same thing I'm thinking right now.

'Welcome To Bangkok' was made for these cavernous venues in mind. This fitting ear-filler announces Brand New's arrival, with the following 'Sink' establishing proper touchdown. Their minimal stage set-up - a couple of retro lights, a white banner with monochrome images projected upon it - does well to suit the songs, and doesn't overpower the member's own onstage prescence which for the most part, is pretty low unless they're throwing their guitars in
the air or jumping around like maniacs. Which is awesome, by the way. Before you know it, they've rolled out sleeper hits 'The Quiet Things That No-One Ever Knows', 'Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't' to a crowd going apeshit, and those not even released as singles elicit an even deeper response ('You Won't Know').

Frontman Jesse Lacey is depressing at the best of times. So when he plays and sings solo through the majority of 'Limousine', a tune concerning the death of a seven year-old at the hands of a drunk diver, the clock is striking thirteen very, very loudly. The incredible moment when the rest join in en force toward the end, then, is bizarrely uplifting and powerful. Immediately afterwards we're treated to new album opener 'Vices', pouring out all the angst built up over the last few minutes. A set that flows so organically like this almost becomes a living thing unto itself, breathing in deeply for 'Jesus', the singalong ballad of the night, then taking the plunge for the utterly fantastic revisiting of their debut 'Your Favoirite Weapon'. 'Jude Law And A Semester Abroad' and 'Seventy Times Seven' never sounded so vital.

With the number 'Play Crack The Sky', its duality of downbeat lyrics and major key stylings serve for a perfect, satisfying close. There is no encore: at first I'm disappointed, but gradually realise 'what's the point?' When you've just dished out music of this emotional and technical calibre, what is the real point of saying everything you've already said, but with a little rehash tacked on the end? Rock and Roll stylings don't suit Brand New, and Brand New do not suit Rock and Roll stylings. Neither have they ever wanted to. They've shown to play Wembley friggin' Arena on your own terms is the real nut-buster.

Rating: 9 / 10

Check out the original version of this review here at Gary's Fantastic Music Reviews.


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