Date: April 18th, 2014
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: The Front Bottoms / Saves The Day
It’s not often that the highly revered Brand New make an appearance on UK shores for a one-off show, nevermind a full headline tour finished off with some festival appearances. However, on the run up to a slot headlining both dates of this year’s Hit The Deck Festival, the New York quartet are upon us and drawing in sold out shows wherever they tread. With their final tour date in Manchester before Hit The Deck gets underway, there’s no way we weren’t going to be a part of it.
Opening acoustic punks The Front Bottoms (**) may have a bit of silly name, but their songs aren’t all about body parts or bodily functions like some punk bands as you may come to expect. Though their delivery for the most part doesn’t really hold any notable flaws, the occassional voice breaking from frontman Brian Sella is a tad off putting and, though the crowd may not be bouncing around to the likes of ‘Skeleton’ or ‘Twin Sized Mattress’, at least they set a somewhat fun tone for what’s to follow.
New Jersey’s Saves The Day (***) are easily the band with the biggest back-catalogue on tonight’s bill, and they bring in cuts from across their work to appease fans from any era of their career. The likes of ‘At Your Funeral’ and the band’s style of an overall lighter side of the alt rock genre gets a few arms waving and a couple of sing alongs here and there throughout their 40 minutes onstage, the crowd still act very much reserved, most likely holding back for the evening’s main act.
With that, the lights dim down before a few spotlights flicker on and Brand New (*****) slowly emerge onto the stage, strangely opening with a cover of Nine Inch Nails track, ‘Wish’. Despite a vast majority of the crowd being a little puzzled from the out-of-the-ordinary choice of a set opener, from here on out the New York rockers remain emotionally charged and, in a lot of cases, working on a bit spur of the moment.
Though any previews into work from their upcoming fifth album are entirely void from tonight’s set, more than an hour and a half set which spans across all four of the band’s albums, almost doing 3-5 tracks from each in bursts. Indeed, their broody and emotionally driven alt rock is delivered with an abundance of passion, with frontman Jesse Lacey offering very few words between the likes of ‘At The Bottom’, ‘The Shower Scene’ and ‘Millstone’, letting the music do all of the talking.
However, it’s the massive anthems of ‘Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades’, ‘The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot’ and the high octane ‘Seventy Times 7’ that truly stick out, but it’s the collossal closer ‘You Won’t Know’ that takes the crown of the evening’s most pinnacle moment. What was already the band’s biggest songs of their career receives a surplus of steroids as the four-piece build it up into an almost 15 minute long epic. Truly sensational.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)