Getting tickets to a Brand New concert is tougher than winning the Mega Millions, so when my friend told me he was able to scoop up 2 tickets for their show at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ and was offering one to me, I was ecstatic. I hadn't seen them since their The Devil and God... tour and was excited at the prospect of seeing them perform songs from their latest album, Daisy. I then found out that they would be playing 2 full albums at each of their 2 east coast shows (as well as 2 full albums at each of their 2 west coast shows). I'm a huge fan of their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums, but am the rare Brand New fan that is not familiar with their 1st album.
We arrived at the venue roughly 30 minutes before the doors opened and saw a line wrapping around the entire parking lot with anxious and excited fans. After a long wait, we got in and I was pleasantly surprised by the opening band, The Front Bottoms. Not only were they an enjoyable blend of acoustic folk, punk, and pop, but the crowd went nuts for them and seemed to know every lyric. They were given a solid 10-song set and paved the way for the headliner.
After what seemed like an eternity, Brand New finally took the stage and the crowd went wild. When the opening notes of "The Shower Scene" hit and everyone realized they'd be playing their 1st album, Your Favorite Weapon, the cheers of joy among the crowd were intense. That is, everyone except for me was excited. I only know a few songs from the album and don't care much for the overall juvenile sound that comprises the songs. The highlights for me were "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" and "Seventy Times 7", but overall the band sounded almost uncomfortable playing the album. They have grown so much since those days and are no longer the same band they were.
After finishing Your Favorite Weapon, they played 3 b-sides before beginning Deja Entendu, which is undoubtedly my favorite album of theirs. By this point, the band was fully warmed up and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. The brief intro, "Tautou", flowed perfectly into their hit, "Sic Transit Gloria...". My personal favorite Brand New song, "Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't", was a crowd favorite and single-handedly made up for the fact that I wasn't into the first half of their show. The band had a comic misstep when they realized they played "Jaws Theme Swimming" out of order and skipped "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot". Frontman, Jesse Lacey, added additional comic relief when he pointed out that "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot" is a ripoff of "Yellow" by Coldplay, and he ended the song with the opening lines from "Yellow". They continued playing through the album until reaching the somber closing track, "Play Crack the Sky".
Overall, I found the show to be a bit of an uneven affair, as I was fairly bored during the first half until things kicked into gear for the second half. However, I was clearly in the minority, as the crowd was having a blast, singing every lyric along with Jesse the entire way through.