Sunday, November 29, 2009

Live Review - Brand New @ Nassau

I was extremely sceptical going to this concert and I never really feel that way before a show. I already had a bias towards the night, from the venue to the sceansters to the headlining band. Yet I still went to continue my Thanksgiving hangover through the weekend. It was a lineup that would have had every emo kid in circa 2003-2005 cream their pants, Long Island hero's Brand New with special guests Glassjaw, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine. With Glassjaw on an arena stage and Manchester Orchestra on the bill, I had to go just to check out those two acts alone. However, knowing that tired old Nassau Coliseum is the worst venue to ever see a concert due to the acoustics in the building being absolute garbage, and hoping that I would not be the oldest person in attendance that was not working the show, and being disappointed time and time again from live performance's of Brand New, it was very odd walking in.
Arriving at 6:30 I missed Kevin Devine, who I have seen dozens of time, so it was no real loss, however I got there just in time for a band I have truly fallen in love with, Georgia's Manchester Orchestra. Knowing what to expect after seeing them at Lollapalooza this summer, Manchester Orchestra did not disappoint, they were fantastic. Loud, aggressive, comforting at times and impressed a crowd in which many had no idea who they were. They tested the acoustics in Nassau and sounded on point. From the lead single "I've Got Friends," into the showstopping "Shake it Out," Manchester Orchestra proved it doesn't matter if they are the opener or headliner, or how big the area is that they are playing, they are going to make you aware of their presence on stage. I promise you will become a fan at the end of their set.
After Manchester Orchestra's riveting set, Thrice came on. Thrice was one of those bands that I never really paid much attention to, however, they still continue to have a legion of fans and the crowd seemed to be really into them. I thought they were fine, good enough, nothing to brag over, but I am sure a real fan would disagree and say "they were great."
After Thrice, it was the Long Island emo-core legends Glassjaw who were up. For me this was the selling point on the ticket. On stage backed by a screen showing a green Cuban flag, the band set up their stage as if it was a rehearsal. With bassist Manny Carerro having his back to the audience the whole time, the drum kit point to the side and singer Daryl Palumbo placed in front of it. The only person facing the audience during their rampaging 30 minute set was guitarist Justin Beck. From the second they came on stage, it was like a whip cracking in front of you. Glassjaw, as always, delivered. Seeing them only in clubs before hand and now in a arena, Glassjaw lit a fire and raised a bar that I would have pitied any band to go on after them. Singer Daryl Palumbo is a freak of nature, jostling and crawling on stage like rabid dog, at points his voice will sound like a cat being skinned, then will sound like the devil calling for you and shifting to moody, emotional lost soul. With only two albums out a various EP's, the band managed to sneak in a few new songs like they have done the past seven years since the release of Warship and Tribute. No word on a new album, but one thing is for sure, I will pay any amount of money to see these lads again. Proving it doesn't matter the venue nor the material, Glassjaw is set to blow your mind.
After all those openers, it was finally time for the hometown throw down to continue with main act Brand New. Brand New, who just released their fourth record Daisy in September, have been on tour all fall supporting the album and this is one of the final dates before they flock over to the UK with Glassjaw for a small tour of very large venues. What was interesting off the bat was how many people were on stage for Brand New to aid the main men in their performance. An additional guitarist and drummer were brought on to drive the pulse home to the fans. A very interesting set that featured a few songs from Daisy, but seven from the band's 2006 release The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. The crowd did get "Sic Transit Gloria (Glory Fades)" and "Ok I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" from Deja Entendu. What was the highlight of the night came during "Ok I Believe You," when all of the Coliseum chanted the lyrics louder than the band and the swell of chorus' brought on by the crowd invigorated everyone. Yet most of the set was very somber and mellow, sure they sounded as good as they could in such a bad venue, but at points it seemed to drag then pick up then drag again. Over the past few years I have developed such a vendetta against singer Jesse Lacey, with his want-to-be Morrissey meets Kurt Cobain antics, and his disposition on stage, I really stopped paying attention to this band that I once really cared about. However, I must say this particular night at Nassau, it was a humbled Lacey we got on stage, maybe things have changed and he is shaping up. Just before closing the set with "seventy seven times seven", Lacey thanked all the acts and mentioned that "no matter where we are the world and what we have done, it all started right here on Long Island." It was a solid performance from the hometown hero's, nothing mind blowing, but a night that made them feel like Kings.