So there I was again; standing outside the Wedgewood Rooms, temperatures which would freeze the tits off a polar bear, townies in their crap adorned Novas trying to impress the line by doing burnouts at the lights and laughing like they'd just discovered a new way to tuck their socks into their trackies.
Yes ladies and gents, ye olde city of Portsmouth was about to play host to another menagerie of musical beasts, headlined by the Godzilla of Kleenex-rock themselves, Brand New. Backing them up would be 'the Canadian ones' Moneen and Straylight Run, comprising members from the former Taking Back Sunday.
In I went, for some reason they were playing some really weird country type crap while we waited for the sound guys to get everything together and the first act to hit the stage, this wasn't exactly rousing the crowd up much. Which was a shame, because when Moneen did come on, it was like deja vu of last Tuesday, everyone kinda stood around looking at the stage with folded arms and a sultry look, as if Timmy Mallet was up there trying to administer a wack-a-plaster on an unsuspecting victim. They did do a sweet set though, and the audience gave them a good reception after every song, kudos to Chris for having such insane dreads as well.
Soon after, Straylight Run took the stage and the eyes of the entire male population of the audience averted to Michelle (and I think all of the females' to John). I really didn't know what to expect from them, and I don't think most of the audience did either, I heard a few people in the queue earlier going 'umm yeah there's a couple of other bands... one's called like stray...run... light or something and the other's umm... maureen?'. So anyway they began, and everybody stood and listened in this sort of mesmerised state, whether or not they were just perving at their chosen band member I'm not sure, but I seem to remember myself half forgetting where I was from being sheerly encapsulated by their music, it was an awe-inspiring experience. I suggest you grab the stuff off their website like they told us to.
After being more than pleasantly surprised by the last set, it was comforting to know that something even better was still to come, something so good I think I was almost salivating at the prospect. And in a melee of noise that would wake Sleeping Beauty, Brand New entered.
No introduction, no 'hi we're so and so from blahdeblah', they knew you knew who they were, and instead went straight into 'Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't'. Now, have you ever watched those videos where there's a herd of wildebeest roaming the plains, and suddenly a leopard hurtles out of the undergrowth and flings them into a frenzied stampede? Well change the herd of wildebeest with a charged rock concert audience, and the leopard with the transition from the verse to the chorus in that song and you kinda have the image of what happened when Brand New took the stage last night.
The set continued, but the order was lost to me in a haze of moshing and shouting. 'Jaws Theme Swimming', 'I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light', 'The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot', 'The Quiet Things That No-one Ever Knows' and 'Guernica' were played in the first stint, in fact I think nearly all of Deja Entendu was played at some point, and some stuff off Your Favourite Weapon was chucked into the recipe for good measure, such as 'Mix Tape' and 'Jude Law And A Semester Abroad'.
After racking up a few bruises, half dehydrating from having only 1 drink all evening and sounding like Harvey Fierstein on a bad day, I joined in the chants of 'Brand New!' when they said thanks and left the stage. About five minutes later, Jesse came back out to play 'Soco Amaretto Lime', which pretty much everybody joined into, and finally the rest of the band came back out to finish with 'Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades'. Everyone went nuts and thus ended a damn good set, be seeing you next time guys.
Cracking show all round, all three bands gave it loads and hopefully felt they got it back off us, send more bands over to your 51st state pals please!