Arriving at the beautiful Alexandra Palace for the first time, to see a band that I was not all that familiar with was an odd experience. As it transpired, I was in for an absolute treat. Alexandra Place is very impressive venue and the first one to have its own food court, which was open all night. Walking through said court, past the infectiously excited fans, I was blown away by the spectacular hall and its stunning chiselled walls.
After the decent support group Basement, who played for around thirty minutes, left the stage, the crowd fell silent in anticipation. On came Jesse (the singer and guitarist) all alone with the spotlight shining down on him. He opened the night with a stripped down version of Soco Amaretto Lime (one of the highlights of their debut album) a good choice for the opener because it gave the band a set up to go straight into the heaviest, loudest and simply one of the best tracks of the evening, Vices. It was wonderfully aggressive and energetic. I found myself grinning from ear to ear and knew for certain that the rest of the show was going to be a very good. Rattling through the next song with spot on musicianship they got to some tracks from 2006’s, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. This part kicked off with the great number, The Archers Bows Have Broken a catchy, crunchy rhythm guitar which every crowd member was bopping along to.
The sixth song of the evening introduced the visual element of the screen behind them. Which made this a highlight because it was so good, as they played Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades the imagery being displayed fit so well. This song was better live as Jesse masterfully flowing through the fast passed lyrics and Garrett Tierney’s groovy bass line really drove the track forward. Three songs later Brand New went into Degausser and it being one of the songs that caught my attention when listening to them, got me excited to hear the live version. Like all good bands they don’t stick to the way it is played in the studio and altered it live. Giving the crowd a different and new experience.
As you more than likely know, special moments that you remember from going to concerts are those songs were everyone in the crowd becomes part of the band for four minutes. Jesus Christ was such a song (though I was with the unofficial fifth member Anna Wang, my friend and devoted fan of the band, sung her heart out all night). It really was a beautiful moment.
For the encore Jesse began the same way as he started the evening. Returning to the stage without the rest of the band and singing Play Crack the Sky. This was very effective, again showing how a well structured show adds to its quality. The second new song of the night stormed along, giving all the fans a taster of a possible new album for the first time in six years. To wrap up the band played an extended version of You Don’t Know which showed their ability and tightness as a band.
This New York state quartet played an amazing set that mixed rock songs cranked up to eleven with stripped back renditions. The bands chemistry, well thought out set, and quality shone through and proved that being a tremendous live act is one way to win people over. I arrived at the Alexandra Palace thinking the band were okay, but left a Brand New fan.