Brand New decided to resurrect their entire discography at the Observatory for a two-night event that until now, their diehard fans could only dream of. The only way you can describe that is–a gift. Brand New packaged their whole career into two set lists and handed to their fans wrapped with a bow. Brooklyn punk outfit the So So Glos provided opening support.Tickets went fast. Within 10 minutes, they were completely sold out. On the day of the show, Craigslist had tickets for around $200 each.
For some, Brand New's particularly sad songs provided a soundtrack to middle school and even high school angst. Unlike the frienemies of the band's front man Jesse Lacey, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New's music pushed boundaries and experimented well past their emo roots. The eclectic group of twentysomethings who congregated at the Observatory that night all had at least one thing in common, a melodramatic view at their childhood.
Like Morrissey, one of Lacey's biggest heroes, once wrote, “It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind.” Lacey's lyrics often follow the same path as Morrissey–self-doubt and borderline pathetic apathy. As the band's sound progressed parallel to the lyrics, both grabbed at darker, more atmospheric elements.
In the last few years, Brand New hasn't played many shows, especially not the in LA area. For reasons unknown, or maybe even obvious ones, Lacey seems to be avoiding Southern California. I personally know people in the crowd that had traveled to Utah to see the band, and others that traveled up north to San Francisco.
Brand New started out the night with the song “Sowing Season,” a song that crescendos its way distinctively setting a tone for the album and the growth the band had done since their break out sophomore release Deja Entendu The second night of their two-night run was for the fans that stuck around. Day one's set list was the first two albums from a young band that contained most of Brand New's most popular tracks, but Day two was the band's latest two releases The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and Daisy.
As Brand New dove into experimentation, some fans stuck through and some faded. The band's new sound was most evident with their last studio album Daisy. With the amount of growth the band had done sonically from Your Favorite Weapon to Daisy the fans who stuck with the band became hardcore fans, and never left.
The element of surprise for this show was completely gone. Everyone in the crowd new what song they would play and exactly when they would play it. Between albums the band even tried their hand at something fans scourer the Internet for, B-sides. One of the rarities played last night was the heartbreaking b-side “Brothers,” a song Lacey says he wrote about never wanting his family to go to war. In reality, his brother ended up joining the navy and went to Afghanistan.
In the few cities Brand New chose to do the discography dates, one thing is for certain; the fans are thankful. Most fans will never get a chance to hear their favorite deep cut, or experience a dream set they could build themselves. With this show, Brand New did just that. Lacey laid out everything the band has ever done together and let the fans make of it what they want. For that, we are eternally grateful.