Brand New are one of those rare-beasts, a three-chord emo band who managed to shake off the genre and progress and mature with each new album, and along the way they’ve built up a true cult following.
Nowhere was this more evident than at East London’s Troxy on Saturday night, when a sea of plaid shirts and piercings descended on the venue for an evening’s communion with their heroes, and from the moment the band appeared onstage to their encore-less exit, the fans were vocal in their support.
Jesse Lacy and company eschewed the theatrics, posturing and pyrotechnics of many rock bands, indeed bassist Garrett Tierney spent most of the set with his head pulled up over his face, but that didn’t dampen their followers’ ardour, baying like supplicants whipped into a bacchic frenzy.
From the moment the first chords of The Shower Scene rang out, the crowd were singing along to every line, sometimes, somehow, attempting to replicate the interweaving lyrics of both Lacey and guitarist Vince Accardi at the same time.
The band were note perfect throughout, showing a polish and a verve developed through years of touring and growing together as a unit, switching ably from the melodic Guernica and The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot to the brooding Millstone and the choppier, darker Sink, and screeching Gasoline.
They played it mainly straight, although the nod to Coldplay’s Yellow – which upon reflection does bear a hitherto unnoticed similarity to The Boy Who…- did raise a few cheers and several smiles.
The Long Island boys know their craft, as Lacey puts it, is to “make girls panic while they sing”, and as the pace grew, and the audience grew more frenetic, so the visceral cries were drawn out from deeper, later songs such as Degausser drawing out primal screams from the singer, backed with lashings of feedback and Accardi’s animal, rumbling basslines.
Crowd-pleaser Seventy Times Seven drew the expected sea of no-longer-teenage raised fists and adoring cries, but overall the set veered away from the earlier tunes into the bands moodier underbelly, building to yelping crescendoes from quite, understated beginnings, and eschewing several earlier favourites – where was Play Crack the Sky, or Jude Law and a Semester Abroad – to finish with the anguished shouting of You Won’t Know.
It wasn’t the reinvention of the wheel, but it was still Brand New, and their adoring public will remain that way, until the next tour leaves them once again clamouring for tickets.
To hear the setlist as a Spotify playlist, click here.