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Review: Brand New exudes intimacy but fans disappoint

Brand New performs to a sold-out crowd July 11 at the LC Pavilion. Credit: Liz Young / Editor-in-chief

Brand New performs to a sold-out crowd July 11 at the LC Pavilion.
Credit: Liz Young / Editor-in-chief

There’s something about Brand New that exudes intimacy.

Actually, there are a few things. Its song lyrics. Its overall sound. The way it manages to feel like a band you discovered even while it plays sold-out shows.

I’ve loved Brand New for years — it’s one of my favorite bands. But that intimacy made me avoid going to its concerts in the past. It was mostly my fear of losing my personal connection to it by standing in a crowd full of people who knew all the words as well.

When a few months ago I saw the band was playing at the LC Pavilion, though, I decided to go. I showed up Friday to the sold-out show with a lot of high expectations, accompanied by slight anticipation of disappointment.

Brand New didn’t disappoint. In some ways, though, its fans did.

The concert itself was incredible. The lights, the bass and the details — like flowers tied to each of the three main microphones — complemented the sheer talent of the band, which performed incredibly live.

Frontman Jesse Lacey and the rest of Brand New have a way of enveloping you into their music, and the show was no different. The sound itself wrapped around everyone in the audience as a smoke machine created a thick atmosphere around the band members on stage. They sang almost every song I felt passionately about hearing, though of course I would have preferred it if they could have performed every single one of their songs — maybe even twice.

But the crowd. I stayed out of the main floor area — the concert was inside of the LC — intentionally so I could watch the madness without being thrust into it. It was fun to watch that main area erupt with motion during Brand New’s hits and to see so many people crowd-surfing.

Off on the sidelines, meanwhile, the people around me jostled around and spilled their beers while shrieking lyrics. I tried hard to dismiss it as typical passionate-fan concert behavior. I was still disappointed though. I hadn’t imagined the fan base, at least the portion of the fan base that would stay off to the sides, as the type to obsess over taking blurry photos and to get drunk enough to stumble over the safety rails.

Some of the biggest hits with the LC crowd: “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t,” “Seventy Times 7,” “Jesus Christ” and “You Won’t Know.” That being said, every song of the approximately 16-song set spurred a flurry of jumping to the beat as some crowd members even threw their shoes at the stage.

Brand New is and will likely always be one of my favorite bands. I definitely want to see a live performance again, too, given how unbelievable the music and overall mood was.

I hope, though, that I’m lucky enough to catch a show at a smaller venue.


  1. I pretty much had the same experience. I made the mistake of being in the pit because I assumed it wouldn’t be that crazy being a Brand New concert and all. Wow, was I wrong. As soon as they started with ‘Sink’ the pit went wild and I was immediately uncomfortable and not enjoying it at all. By the second song I was crowd-surfed out of the pit and enjoyed the rest of the concert from upstairs. I didn’t have the best view, but I was able to actually listen to the music without fearing for safety. I’m definitely going to see them again and try to get a better view in a safer area next time. All in all, it was a great experience and I’d be lying if I said those five seconds of crowd-surfing weren’t fun. But I was surprised at how aggressive everyone was. I couldn’t believe that half of the people there were really Brand New fans. I wonder what the band itself thought of the crowd.

  2. I often wonder what people expect of a concert? It’s your chance to go nuts and totally immurse yourself into live music. If you thought that most people were going too crazy then maybe this article should be titled: brand new, more fun than I imagined. I go to one or two live shows a week and I think the majority of people at shows are boring. The more people move and dance and jump and scream and laugh and cry and just let their emotions go wild the better. People who go to shows and just stand there I’ll never understand… but to each their own. Keep supporting live music and I hope you have a better experience at your next show.

  3. I felt the exact same way. Brand New is my favorite band of all time, I’ve been waiting for a chance to see them for 10 years; I finally got that chance Saturday in Philly. It was almost surreal, hearing these songs live, feeling the passion they have for some of the music they recorded 5 or more years ago. I was upset that the crowd didn’t know how to gauge the emotion of the song. I LOVED that the audience knew every word to every song, but they moshed and chanted and screamed the whole time. I don’t know, I just feel like they have such beautiful heart-breaking songs that need to be felt and heard, rather than you proving you know the song by screaming the lyrics, lol. But it was a rock concert, so it is what it is. One of the best experiences of my life and I saw it alone and go to enjoy it by myself, in my own way. 🙂

  4. I agree. I’d love to see Brand New do an acoustic set in a small venue where Jesse can feel free to talk about the songs some. I know this is all well wishing considering Jesse is usually quiet with things like that. But regardless, I think Brand New has been around long enough that there are high schoolers and early 20s kids who like them and people in their 30’s. Being in your 30s, you get tired of moshing and jumping and want to enjoy the experience peacefully. I saw a fight at the last BN show I went to. It was frustrating.

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