In the last year, the Long Island scene has absolutely blown up. At few times was this more clear than this show, Brand New's homecoming show after months on the road. As was mentioned on stage multiple times, this show was the largest Long Island show since V.O.D. and Madball played in 1995. In fact, not only was there well over 1000 people at this show, but at the same time in New York City, Taking Back Sunday was playing to a sold out crowd of 1000.
The first band on was None More Black, a local act. They were clearly excited about getting the opening slot on this show, and it showed in their energetic performance. The crowd response was tepid, but the band kept playing, and surely converted some new fans. My biggest complaint about None More Black, though, is that they did not have any CD's for sale at their merch area. That's just inexcusable, especially considering how many people were at this show.
Next up was Simple Plan. I was dreading this set somewhat, because I feared that the underground-loving Long Island fans would boo Simple Plan off the stage, and create a lot of awkwardness for the rest of the bands. However, the crowd was receptive, and the band ignored the few jeering fans. Simple Plan's set wasn't particularly memorable, but I don't have anything bad to say about it either.
Then came the Starting Line. They started slowly, but gained steam as the set progressed. Kenny the lead singer was more subdued and less annoying than usual (see my Taking Back Sunday review for an example of the opposite), and the crowd responded well to the "less talk, more rock" vibe. TSL kicked it into overdrive for the final four songs, "Cheek To Cheek," "I'm Real," "Leaving," and set-closer "Best Of Me," and had the entire floor jumping and singing by the end. Quality set from these guys from Philly.
Finally came the moment everybody was here for: Brand New's return to Long Island. The band came out and tore right into their two most well-known songs, "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" followed by "Last Chance to Lose Your Keys." As expected, the crowd got right into it, and never let up. Brand New played every song off "Your Favorite Weapon," as well as "Moshi Moshi" from their Safety In Numbers split, and a new song tentatively titled "Thanks For Passing Me A Piece Of Chicken." The highlight of the middle portion of the set was "Soco Amaretto Lime," which had everyone in the place singing along. With two songs left, Brand New asked the crowd what they wanted to hear next. The overwhelming response: "Seventy Times Seven!" They tore right into that song, as the crowd exploded with the biggest reaction of the night. Following that was the show-closer "Mix Tape," which ended in a wall of feedback and broken instruments. Brand New thanked us for coming out to the show, and people began filing out.
Very good show overall. The first three bands were good enough, and Brand New put on the best performance of 2002 in my opinion. Considering the degree to which they blew up this year, going from a small show at Brownie's in New York City on December 20th of 2001 to headlining the second biggest show of Long Island's history on 12/30/2002, one can only imagine what comes next. Brand New and Taking Back Sunday co-headlining Madison Square Garden next December?