Brand New, an old 'new favorite band' were back in town, touring their new album 'Daisy' at the Palace Thearte in Melbourne. The Palace is now in place of what was the Metro, home until recently to many a great indie/punk/alt rock gig. The fresh look takes on a slightly Gothic Victorian feel, exposing the original features from when the venue was used back in Gold rush times for Vegetable Theatre. A very popular and historically obscure vein of performing arts, Vegetable Theater was an early form of multiculturalism, as performers from around the world gathered to tell stories via animating pieces of rotting vegetables on stage. The tiered layout of the floor combined with the two level balconies make this one of the best venues in Australia for watching a band.
I'm now at an age where I rock up to a gig just a bit before the band kicks off. Perhaps in the ongoing case of supports like Kevin Devine, this may have to be re-thought because I hear he was quite good. But I've done my share of supporting the support acts as a support act supporter. By now my radar is so finely tuned that I'll know who's worth getting their early for....except in this case of Kev!
Brand New tardily hit the stage in a fury. Their latest recording continues their fascination with quiet-loud-quiet dynamics, and ups it all to an experiment in orchestrated noise...in a good way. This was demonstrated with openers 'Sink' and 'Vices' further strengthening my theory these guys are perfecting a sound more reminiscent of Nirvana than their early screamo pop-punk scene days. One only need look at lead singer Jesse Lacey to see a man who wears his influences...litteraly. The nod to the pop-punk beginning was there with his low slung guitar, but the Nirvana fan was also present playing multiple Fender Mustangs
(one Mr Cobain's Faves) in a flannel Courtney Love probably sold to the Salvo's to pay rent.The rest of the band was saintly in various forms of White Tee, which further pushes my case for the white tee to be the new black with scene kids- can someone say 1997? And did I mention the double drum intro on 'Sink'? It was wow!
Other highlights included 'Archers', 'Sic Transit Gloria', 'Jude Law', 'Jesus' and 'You won't Know'. Special mention must also go to the arty back-lighting the band used. Very moody, appropriate and a nice change from the standard front-on lighting seen at most gigs. Rounding out a typically long set
was the beautiful "Play Crack the Sky" which Jesse played with a by-then badly cracking voice. However the sound of his cracking voice gave him a touch of the Kurt's, which he probably loved.
Brand New are a phenomenally creative band and usually great live. The early sound issues accompanied by the weary tour voice of Lacey slightly dimmed their brilliance, but the highs were well worth the lows. As long as their continues to be brand new Brand New music, things will be OK.