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Brand New / Kevin Devine

Brand New / Kevin Devine: live in Portlandlive in Portland (2007)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3


Contributed by: colincolin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I don't go to the Roseland here in Portland much. A relatively large venue with security guards who dream about being riot cops just isn't that great of a combination for seeing a show. However, my friend had a +1 to this event and Brand New's newest album has grown on me since I originally reviewed.


I don't go to the Roseland here in Portland much. A relatively large venue with security guards who dream about being riot cops just isn't that great of a combination for seeing a show. However, my friend had a +1 to this event and Brand New's newest album has grown on me since I originally reviewed it. So I went hearing rumors of set lists and stage presence and a couple encouraging bootleg videos on YouTube.

Manchester Orchestra opened up the night with about four songs from I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. Now, for the entire show, there were two drum sets set up; during the first two sets there were three. So at some points during this opening set, there were nine musicians on stage (members of all the bands). While it was great the first time, it wore off after it was repeated on the next song and then a couple times during Kevin Devine's set.

As for the music itself, well, the frontman was trying really hard to get you to believe he cared about what he was singing, but he always seemed cautious. During the end of "I Can Barely Breathe," he hit the microphone away in defiance. However, instead of disregarding it as an object getting in the way of him screaming to the audience, he slapped it the way you'd expect a small child to hit their older sister who had just pushed them onto the playground grass. When the bassist went to throw his bass during the end of the last song, he tossed it about six inches in the air, as to make sure it didn't break or he didn't miss. It's this sort of regard for equipment that makes a set, or at least sincerity, seem a bit forced. Musically it was good, but again, with three guitarists as a standard, I'd sort of expect that.

Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band is an act I hadn't heard and while musically they weren't my thing, he puts on a good show. The crowd was the most energetic whenever Jesse Lacey took the stage to sing along, but his set was well-received and they pulled off a pretty good Neutral Milk Hotel cover in "Holland, 1945." Again, with the final song there were probably 10 or 12 people on stage, some just singing or playing tambourine or hitting a cymbal, and while it was obvious this was a tour of a bunch of friends just having fun, something about it seemed a bit forced.

I've only seen Brand New once before, it being when they shot the video for "Jude Law" at Skate and Surf Fest. Ironically enough, that's the last time I saw Dashboard Confessional as well, and this is what that felt like. While I remember them being a fun live act, a lot has changed. Jesse came out after an incredibly long set change break to play the aforementioned "Semester Abroad" acoustic. He was playing either in a minor key or trying to change it up, and maybe he was just drunk, but it was pretty awful. I was really looking forward to this, and as he sloppily transitioned into "Seventy Times 7," it just seemed like he didn't care.

And this was an ongoing thing. Generally the frontman's job is to be entertaining, but tonight was all about guitarist Vin Arcadia, who was pulling off metal solos during "The Shower Scene" and fiddling around with his guitar throughout the set to bring new life to old tunes, a smile on his face the entire time.

While the set list follows the review, I will say playing all of Deja Entendu was... unnecessary. The band received a lot of attention for it because it's so unlike Your Favorite Weapon, but when it comes down to it, some of the songs are just outright bad and certainly aren't good live. However, Brand New took advantage of the dual drum kits and performed a rousing rendition of "Tautou." Before playing "Play Crack the Sky," Jesse went on an odd five-minute plot synopsis of the movie Groundhog Day. I have no clue why.

The new songs were amazing. I wasn't expecting to hear as much as I did, and though Lacey's voice was coarse and broken from an already 100-minute set, he didn't let that stop him. The band actually started showing some interest in the music they were playing, as if the first 17 songs were just a warm-up. From the silent theater during the cry of "where you've been" at the climax of "Luca" to the echoing "whoa"s of "Millstone," Lacey was finally involved in some way.

Finally, I'd say the biggest detractor from the show was the crowd. As "Okay, I Believe You..." started, the crowd actually started singing without Lacey. He came in and told them to hold up, as they were all three lines in before he started singing. And I guess this is a good way to show why I don't really like seeing bands like this live; the kids all wanted to be the star or hope Jesse would look at them in the right light, never seeing the irony of yelling out, "I am not your friend, not your lover, not your family" during "Sowing Season." When all the girls screamed during "It's ladies night and all the girls drink for free!," I just thought Yeah, have fun at the bars in six years.

I'd say if you have a love for Deja Entendu and can put up with a really shitty crowd for a few hours, Brand New do put on quite a long show, while not super entertaining. But if you're going to see a band with some great stage presence or someone emotionally invested in more than just a handful of songs, I'd recommend finding another route.

Set list:

  1. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad [acoustic intro]
  2. Seventy Times 7
  3. The Shower Scene
  4. The No Seatbelt Song
  5. Soco Amaretto Lime
  6. Tautou [dual drummers]
  7. Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades
  8. I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light
  9. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
  10. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
  11. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
  12. Jaws Theme Swimming
  13. Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
  14. Guernica
  15. Good to Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have to Do Is Die
  16. Play Crack the Sky ["Groundhog Day" synopsis explanation intro]
  17. Welcome to Bangkok
  18. Sowing Season
  19. Millstone [dual drummers]
  20. Archers
  21. Jesus
  22. Luca
  23. Degausser
  24. You Won't Know [violin intro]

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy [reissue]Sublime - Sublime [Deluxe Edition]Sublime - Everything Under the SunBrand New - DaisyRx Bandits - MandalaDillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasDillinger Four - Versus GodDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RSatanic Surfers - Going Nowhere Fast

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 29, 2007)

I saw Brand New yesterday in Atlantic City and this review was almost exactly like the show I went too (horrible crowd, Jesse seeming drunk/douchey) except they played almost all of The Devil And God, which made up for some of the shittiness.

feebee (April 14, 2007)

Hey Scott/Maverick, why did you say "Great music, terrible fanbase, asshole musicians."? The "asshole musicians" part is the part that stumped me - have you met them? What happened to make you think they're assholes?

I just saw this show in Orlando last night - I thought it was great. YES - their crowd is SO annoying. But the House of Blues is such a great venue to see a show at - they sounded awesome and the music drowned out the crowd of kids singing. For some reason, during Manchester and Kevin Devine - I never did get sick of the different people coming on stage. I usually don't pay attention to opening acts - but seeing the Brand New guys come out there and play actually made me pay attention and I really liked Manchester's songs. It was different, and I liked it. I had a blast and I was really impressed with how Brand New played live.

m-oo (April 7, 2007)

Haha I think its funny that the crowds over in the U.S are also complete losers. Saw brand new in dublin and no joke the crowd were singing the fucking guitar intro to "Jesus Christ" The whole band was actually laughing while trying to play their instruments over the noise of the crowd. Then again I reckon we all did it when we were 14-16

tenwestchaser (April 5, 2007)

Brand New does have a really fucking annoying crowd. Every time I see them I end up taking a foot to my face from some cock sucking crowd surfer. The sad part is, Brand New isn't a really super energy filled band where things like crowd surfing are necessary. They are a band I really like to stand, and sing along to. Shit, I've got a scar on my nose because I saw them at a show after Warped tour and took some dumb broads red chuck to my sun burnt schnoz. These people should save their energy for bands like Bane...but what am I talking about, it's amazing in itself that such an impressionable audience like at Brand New shows even find their way to a great band like Brand New.

eatdogs (April 5, 2007)

did kevin devine cover anything from his old band miracle of 86?

johnnydanger (April 5, 2007)

what an awful review. i'd love to have taken your place there.

Anonymous (April 5, 2007)

I saved latin. What did you ever do?

WarIsPeace (April 4, 2007)

I love Brand New's music, but their live show is always lacking to me. They never seem fully into it and Jesse's singing isn't all that great. It's not horrible, but in comparison to the albums, it's pretty bad. Also, they always seem to try to change the songs around, especially Jesse singing the lower harmony of the melody on a lot of songs. I understand changing some things up to keep things interesting when playing the same songs over and over on a tour, but I feel he does this because his voice would never hold up through the entire set if he sang the higher melody for every song.

And that setlist really sucks.

Anonymous (April 4, 2007)

Great music, terrible fanbase, asshole musicians.

By and large, Scott is spot on. It's all Jason Tate's fault too.

Anonymous (April 4, 2007)

I've only seen them once, but they weren't like that at all.

They didn't really talk much, but they just played songs and sounded crisp and very together and seemed to have a lot of energy and sounded pretty good.

mcgregor107 (April 3, 2007)

LOLZ @ The YourSceneSucks thing.. That still cracks me up.

Anonymous (April 3, 2007)

  

"just thought Yeah, have fun at the bars in six years."

 

Obviously, this doucebag of a reviewer has never heard of fake IDs and underage drinking.

   

maverick (April 3, 2007)

Weird; every person I've talked to said the songs were played in album chunks, but in Cleveland, it was a couple here, a couple there, all throughout the night, mainly between Deja and the new one -- they only played "The No Seatbelt Song" and "The Shower Scene" off YFW, although Jesse did cover Weezer's "Butterfly".

I think he was going to play "Jude Law" (as I read he'd been playing it acoustic on this tour) but instead went into "Butterfly." The whole damn thing. A decent number of kids knew who it was, but plenty more just kept on yelling "PLAY SEVENTY TIMES SEVENNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!"

The entire show was like the theatre of the absurd. Two drumsets, up to four guitarists onstage at once, Jesse grabbing stage lights and shining them at kids... It was kind of like watching a really dramatic movie or a particularly over-the-top horror film, where you suspend your disbelief even though you know it??s a pretty ridiculous situation but you want to let yourself inside their world. Then someone??s cell phone rings or a kid laughs at something accidentally funny and the whole perception is shattered, and all you can do is make fun of it for the rest of your time there. That??s how I felt: I just had to make fun of it for two hours.

Great music, terrible fanbase, asshole musicians.

-Scott

Not-To-Regret (April 3, 2007)

The Devil and God... has grown on me... it was fitting headphone music for my recent trip to Vancouver. I'd say its a fairly overlooked album, which if people gave a solid chance, could grow on them. But by no means is is something I listen to all the time.

PervyD (April 3, 2007)

"The band received a lot of attention for it because it's so unlike Your Favorite Weapon, but when it comes down to it, some of the songs are just outright bad and certainly aren't good live"

Last time I checked, Deja was a pretty solid album give or take about 2 songs. That is, of course, unless you really like the pretty shitty pop/punk from Your Favorite Weapon.

FatTony (April 3, 2007)

The crowd at the Seattle show wasn't *that* bad. Then again, I'd just put up with the worst crowd ever at the Gym Class Heroes/Rx Bandits show a week earlier, so I might not be judging that accurately.

The most annoying part of the setlist on this tour is that they play the songs in groups according to album. So they didn't play any new material until they'd already been playing for over 90 minutes. I'm all for seeing my favorite bands play forever, but if I can get the same set just listening to the albums at home, I'd rather not go. The opening bands were pretty good though.

Overall, it was better than the last time I saw them a few months ago, but Jesse doesn't seem to enjoy what he does anymore. Watching the video for "Jude Law," it's clear he's not the same person anymore and not getting the enjoyment out of being on stage that he used to.

Anonymous (April 3, 2007)

I saw this tour in Denver. I actually enjoyed when all the bands joined in on songs, the two-three drummers sounded good and the Nuetral Milk Hotel song was great (Vin was even playing a trumpet).

It seems like Brand New doesn't want to play some of their older/poppier songs, at least that how I saw it judging from that version of 'jude law..' to not playing quiet things

it was a good show, brand new played forever. jesse lacey made a joke a jumanji instead of groundhog day.

DarrenMcLeod (April 3, 2007)

score's for the link.

Anonymous (April 3, 2007)

Nice use of italics whoever is the second comment below....retard.

nocigar (April 3, 2007)

I was happy they didn't play all of Deja Entendu. That album's really half-assed

wow, you are an idiot..or just have terrible taste in music.

red_eye_inc (April 3, 2007)

When I saw them it was the other setlist, and I was happy they didn't play all of Deja Entendu. That album's really half-assed and some of the songs don't translate that well live. Having a billion people on stage for some of the songs just made it sound like a mess.

inagreendase (April 3, 2007)

Looking forward to this, even though I do have concerns with the crowd.

And for the record, there are no bad songs on Deja.

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