Brand New at the Guildhall (10/2/12)


Brand New are a diverse band. Their music covers a huge amount of genres; from the pop-punk tunes of Your Favourite Weapon to the experimental ballads of Daisy so one would expect their gig to be a journey covering a whole plethora of differing emotions that vary with their music. Unfortunately, it felt like something was missing throughout large parts of this gig. While the show featured it’s fair share of brilliant songs, mainly towards its close, many of the band’s canon of fantastic songs seemed to be performed half-heartedly; lamely limbering along powered only by the faith of the hoards of dedicated fans.

After stellar support slots from The Xcerts and I Am The Avalanche, the group quietly came on set to a huge amount of anticipation from the crowd. As a band not promoting a new album or riding the back of a new single that has garnered them a new wave of fans, the audience was clearly compromised of die-hards; people that wanted to hear their favourite songs from each stage of the bands long career. It cannot be argued that the band provided this; the set ran for a good ninety minutes and detailed their whole history.

The moments at which the lackluster efforts were most noticeable were during the bands most popular hits such as ‘The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’ and ‘Jesus Christ’. The songs illicited a huge amount of reaction from the crowd, which only served to highlight the lack of enthusiasm on the bands behalf. The gig undoubtedly had a fantastic atmosphere but the band themselves seemed to be going through the motions, not really injecting such anthemic songs as ‘Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t’ with the venom and bitter emotional passion that made them so popular in the first place.

Despite this, the set had it’s highlights, the rendition of ‘Sic Gloria Transita… Glory Fades’ was fantastic and transposed the records themes of paranoia and lust brilliantly to the stage which was received riotously by the audience who were clearly filled with memories of listening to the song in the most emotional stages of their childhood.

The climax of the set proved more revealing with the performances of the powerful ‘Degausser’ and an extended rendition of ‘You Won’t Know’ being immensely impressive and finally saw the band seemingly enjoying themselves. The latter was the perfect set closer, showcasing the bands incredible ability to make powerful and emotive songs, with the extended running length serving to sustain the songs feeling of hatred, as if the ‘You’ in question was directed at each and every member of the audience.

Overall, the night saw a good mix of new and old material, which greatly pleased the long-term fans. What the band lacked in energy was made up for by the overwhelming enthusiasm of the audience, who were clearly reveling in the presentation of a band who developed with them as they grew up, from the unashamedly emo sounds of their earlier career to the (arguably) more credible and experimental sounds created in Daisy, the band clearly meant a lot to a lot of people. Whilst the performance was lackluster in general until the fantastic closing acts, the experience of being in an audience full of dedicated made the evening a memorable one.



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  1. avatar
    Ciarán McManus on

    I agree with many of these criticisms, but would defend the band on the basis that a Brand New set must be a very emotionally draining set, as sets go. Therefore, exercising restraint is something I can forgive them for; I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for Lacey to sustain such high emotional involvement with all these songs for so many years. Although that doesn’t excuse the rest of the band, Lacey is the front man, so it all hinges on him. I’d also add that the Guildhall is a cold and sparse venue. The sound was washed out and formless, which doesn’t really allow for a band to cultivate an intimate set.

    I think they did a good job in less-than-adequate circumstances, but for overall enjoyment terms, 6/10 is the right score.

  2. avatar
    Daniel Flynn on

    Yeah i’d agree with you there, a Brand New set isn’t exactly on the same emotional level as a Hoosiers concert, it must be pretty exhausting.

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