As I had no interest in seeing Dashboard Confessional, I tried not to curse him under my breath for taking out Brand New on tour and forcing me into the vacuous spaciousness of a stadium to see them. I hadn't seen the band in three years and even the scary size of...gulp...Madison Square Garden wouldn't stop me.
At just before 7:30 P.M. the band responsible for one of the year's best albums took the stage. Unfortunately, they really failed to drive my opinion home. After some collaborative noise the sloppy bassline to "Sic Transit Gloria" finally tripped forth, but I wouldn't even recognize it until Jesse Lacey sang its opening lines off-kilter. Already, things seemed awfully sloppy, and this was a theme that would continue through the set. Atop of that was MSG's horrid sounding acoustics; everything sounded thin and messy booming echoes through the space. On many of the songs the band even employed a third guitarist, but it was only another layer upon a dissonance that appeared in all the wrong places of Brand New's songs.
Not to discredit the playing completely, it was beautiful to hear the band's new post-rock influence infect the songs not on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. "Jaws Theme Swimming" rang with some beautiful, shimmering guitars not found on the studio version, while the set itself found Lacey ringing his guitar alone for a pretty, siren-esque closer. Every band member exhibited full-throttled energy, Vin Accardi heaving his guitar into the air several times and everyone generally taking advantage of the wide-reaching expanses of the stage.
Lacey himself was often slurring his speech between songs and stumbling around a bit during them. Throughout "Luca"'s loud dynamic he lost his mind, simply running around and blatantly tripping over probably a wire at one point. At another point he shared some standard incredulity; "It's hard to believe where we are right now." Upon the conclusion of his aforementioned ringing guitar at the end of the set closer, he quickly thanked the crowd in German and departed stage left. He was just a strange character through the 49-minute set.
While I craved a number of Raging's cuts for the live treatment (namely "Jesus Christ," "Millstone," and "Archers," none of here which were delivered), the set list was still divvied up well considering: four from that album, three from 2003's Deja Entendu, and a pleasantly surprising cut from 2001's Your Favorite Weapon -- "The Shower Scene," whose reckless abandon made for a much needed juxtaposition.
I'll chalk up much of my disappointment to the band's own confines -- an opening set and a cavernous stadium's acoustics. I can't really ask for much considering the circumstances, but the band probably could've toned it down a little if it meant playing a little more coordinated.
Set list (7:28-8:17):
- Sic Transit Gloria - Glory Fades
- The Shower Scene
- Jaws Theme Swimming
- Sowing Season (Yeah)
- You Won't Know
- Okay, I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't