Brand New / Thrice / mewithoutYou

Brand New / Thrice / mewithoutYou: live in New Yorklive in New York (2007)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4

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

Hammerstein Ballroom is a very large venue. It can fit approximately 2500 patrons, actually. When watching bands perform at these type of venues from a seated mezzanine section, it can reduce your enjoyability quite considerably. Luckily, this was a compromise I took on -- albeit begrudgingly -- due.

Hammerstein Ballroom is a very large venue. It can fit approximately 2500 patrons, actually. When watching bands perform at these type of venues from a seated mezzanine section, it can reduce your enjoyability quite considerably. Luckily, this was a compromise I took on -- albeit begrudgingly -- due to the rather affectionate nature I held for the entire lineup playing.

The lights darkened at precisely 6:30 and mewithoutYou took the stage to some roaring applause. It seems the crowd were just excited for the show to get rolling. The band then tore through a 29-minute, 7-song set without interruption (for the Punknews regular, think modern Against Me!-style). Aaron Weiss barely said a word to the crowd, but I don't think it was due to nervousness -- the band were merely pumping out as many songs as possible in their allotted time. The majority of those derived predictably from their last album, 2006's excellent Brother, Sister, while the band threw in the opener and closer from its predecessor, 2004's Catch for Us the Foxes. They sounded exquisite, as usual, and didn't miss a beat. Some cool, eccentric guitar tones spiced up "January 1979" while the playing of their most dynamic songs really helped the set flow and punctuate well. A cool, original interlude was even thrown in about midway. Although they were the primary opening act, they still had a flashing graphic in the back, which merely consisted of Brother, Sister's cover -- it was a nice aesthetic, though. Excellent, as was expected.

Set list (6:30-6:59):

  1. Messes of Men
  2. The Dryness and the Rain
  3. C-Minor
  4. Son of a Widow
  5. interlude
  6. January 1979
  7. O, Porcupine
  8. In a Sweater Poorly Knit
Not having seen Thrice since Warped Tour 2005, I was definitely looking forward to hearing some deep cuts off Vheissu as well as some of the standout material off the recently released Volumes I & II of The Alchemy Index. While the band leaned a little heavier on singles off The Artist in the Ambulance than I thought necessary, the set list was a fun and diverse one, and the band played magnificently. Before the set began, what resembled searchlights flooded into the crowd, making for a cool opening. Further usage of lights complimented the set, from a board in the back sporting multi-colored, horizontal lines and a red, orange or blue hue often thrown upon the band. For the cool, reflective "Digital Sea," Kensrue was actually roaming around with the mic, free of his guitar; for Thrice, it was definitely a weird sight. Kensrue didn't quite look like he knew what to do during it, staggering aimlessly around his spot on the stage. Another of Water's songs, "The Whaler," was notably finished quite excellently. Surprisingly, nothing from Vheissu found its way into the set until 10 songs in, but luckily it was one of, if not the, best songs on the record: the chilling "Atlantic." Expecting nothing from Identity Crisis and receiving just that, it was still a good mix of material from the band, however oddly dependent they seemed upon their four-year-old major label debut. A great, spot-on performance as well that showed the band's talent in conveying both their more melodic and confrontational parts.

Set list (7:21-8:18):
  1. Stare at the Sun
  2. Firebreather
  3. Kill Me Quickly
  4. Under a Killing Moon
  5. -----
  6. Digital Sea
  7. Burn the Fleet
  8. The Artist in the Ambulance
  9. -----
  10. Flags of Dawn
  11. -----
  12. The Whaler
  13. Atlantic
  14. Don't Tell and We Won't Ask
  15. -----
  16. The Messenger
  17. -----
  18. Deadbolt
  19. -----
  20. The Earth Will Shake
Then it was time for the real headliners, especially in this area of the U.S.: Brand New. Many complaints have frequently been registered towards the band's live show, whether it's missing notes, playing stupid set lists or pulling dick moves on their fans. While certain fuck-ups during their set did give away further proof that the band's albums are probably cleaned up just a bit, they were often on cue and quite mesmerizing. The band pulled a bold move, opening with The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me's longest track -- the nearly eight-minute epic "Limousine." While its soft-loud transition produced a bit of off-key singing from the crew -- which at this point included four guitarists and two drummers, but thinned out a bit during the rest of the set -- it was a nicely played version. They then delved into a cool interlude complete with some vocals from Jesse Lacey, which preceded another instrumental, "Welcome to Bangkok." All this weird stuff would've imaginably started to piss off the crowd, but they hollered in loud approval when the acoustic rush of "Bangkok" was strummed.

The band added lots of interesting flourishes to all their songs. Whether it was fucking around with "Bangkok" or adding different tones to Your Favourite Weapon-era tracks, it added a much-needed differential to the live show. Of note was an absolutely flawless performance of "Play Crack the Sky" -- Lacey seriously nailed it. Meanwhile, he even obliged their pickier fans with "The No Seatbelt Song" and "The Shower Scene"; the former was entirely more fractured and haunting than I've ever heard it played, and when the full band kicked in during the bridge it made for an absolutely agonizing end to the song -- it sounded like a suicide note. "Sic Transit Gloria"'s intro was practically unrecognizable, but fans managed to recognize that bassline buried underneath it and went wild. "Degausser" featured hilariously unintelligible screaming during its chorus and pre-chorus, but it didn't totally ruin the song.

Lacey even offered up a completely solo cover of Built to Spill's "Car," but I'm not entirely sure he even mentioned who it was by. Unsurprisingly, it seemed no one in the crowd recognized it, including myself. Granted, it was rather hard to hear Lacey's in-between-song muttering, as he was constantly held inaudible by rabid screaming.

The encore itself was original and more than a pleasant surprise. An opening guitar riff reminiscent of "Jesus" was played for quite a while until the entire band came in for a long instrumental outro with a huge, awesome climax. Certain moments on The Devil and God seriously lead me to believe Brand New would like to replace Godspeed You! Black Emperor someday, and this impressive display didn't sway my opinion. In fact, that opening guitar loop was played over the PA after the show, proving that this song may in fact already be recorded. Could an instrumental EP be on the way? Doubtful, but the band could certainly produce a solid effort of such.

Overall, all bands met my expectations, with Brand New even surpassing them just a bit. The ultimate set would've included one or two demos from the leaked Fight Off Your Demons set, but merely having my cake was enough. This show would probably be a 9 had I been on the floor and a 10 if I could actually see what was going on through 20/80 vision. Hence, an 8.

Set list (8:51-10:24):
  1. Limousine (MS Rebridge)
  2. interlude [w/ singing]
  3. Welcome to Bangkok
  4. Not the Sun
  5. The Archers Bows Have Broken
  6. -----
  7. The No Seatbelt Song
  8. The Shower Scene
  9. Play Crack the Sky
  10. Luca
  11. -----
  12. Sowing Season (Yeah)
  13. Millstone
  14. -----
  15. Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades
  16. Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't
  17. -----
  18. Car [Built to Spill cover, Lacey solo]
  19. -----
  20. Tautou
  21. You Won't Know
  22. Degausser
  23. Jesus
  24. Encore:
  25. instrumental


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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.
noiinteam (December 11, 2007)

No, Brand New didn't say a single word during their set in Austin, either. Dustin from Thrice spoke maybe three or four times, but that was all.

H_express (December 11, 2007)

I just saw this concert in Boston (well, lowell) and i just wish this tour came around had come around before either of these bands new records were release becasue quite frankly, they are BOTH doing this whole "we are growing as musicians, so that means all of our new songs are all slow, drudgy and kind of bleed together AKA artsy" I mean i am all for band growth, but that doesnt mean abandon everything from your past. I even think that both of the new records are very good, solid efforts, i just didnt think they resonated as what i pictured a "thrice/brand new" show to be.... but this coming from a guy who essentially just wanted to hear all of TAITA and deja entendu...

PS - another thing that made the show kind of boring was how absolutely rare it was that either of the bands said anything in between songs. Again maybe it was just at the boston show, but when a band literally says nothing the entire set, it gives me a feeling that they dont really care to be there that much...

noiinteam (December 10, 2007)

I wish Thrice had played more TAITA stuff in ATX, but I'd say it was a good mix up. Apparently they only Illusion of Safety songs they're allowing themselves to play are Kill Me Quickly and Deadbolt, but whatever. mewithoutyou just played the same song for about 30 minutes. Oh, what was that? They were different? Hadn't noticed. They were pretty lame.

I don't like any of the Brand New past Your Favorite Weapon. Not my style.

the4footpartysub (December 10, 2007)


i think the latest mewithoutyou album is probably their best so far. if you're into them at all, definitely pick it up.

fallingupwards84 (December 10, 2007)

thrice's new album is horrible

xote (December 10, 2007)

I didn't know Me Without You had a new album out. Well it's not even new that was sure under the radar who has it? Whats it like? Good? I hope so.

ryang (December 9, 2007)

Ha, you went to see brand new. I've never heard them, but i have a feeling they suck, probably in a totally shittier way than thrice.

bytheslice (December 9, 2007)

Does anyone else think mewithoutyou is plagiarizing the heck out of Les Savy Fav?

facetofacereunion08 (December 9, 2007)

no "quiet thing that no one ever knows"?

bodyofafemalemosquito (December 9, 2007)

Also like to add that Jesse Lacey, however tormented he is, is a despicable guy. Been to a couple Brand New shows and he thinks he's a third-world six year old AK-47 swinging king martyr.

bodyofafemalemosquito (December 9, 2007)

Sad day when Brand New headlines over Thrice. Brand New's got some solid songs, above-par lyrics; but they're not a band so much as Jesse Lacey and his producers, whereas Thrice, instrumentally and, I hate to use this term, metaphysically, incorporate as tighter, better musicians.

thatsyouth (December 8, 2007)

score is for nocigars choice of words.

frostbrewliner (December 8, 2007)

I saw this lineup in Portland a couple months ago and while I enjoyed myself, there were a few aspects that left a bad taste in my mouth. Thrices set list was pretty dissapointing and I felt they couldn't pull off the new jams in a live setting with much confidence at all. To much build up, build up, HEAVY PART!, melodic outro formula going on. Plus their light show was a headache and a half. Brand New was decent, and what really made their set for me was the inclusion of untitled #1, that song is just to brilliant.

nocigar (December 8, 2007)


you are an idiot.

salvation (December 7, 2007)

I was at this show. I think Brand New played pretty well but the crowd was so obnoxious. The set list was good though, I was happy to hear mostly new stuff.

thatsyouth (December 7, 2007)

i saw this in austin. i dont know how anyone can take mewithoutyou seriously. they fucking blow. i wanted to punch the singer in the face the whole time.

Thrice was amazing. They blow away both mewithoutyou and brand new when it comes to playing live. Brand New was horrible boring. Not that tight. and just. boring. it was shitty. and it reminded me why i dont like them at all.

Brand new doesn't have near the talent that Thrice has. And it was absolutely ridiculous that Thrice opened up for those hacks.

lostandclowned (December 7, 2007)

and the encore song was an extended version of "Untitled."

lostandclowned (December 7, 2007)

yea, if you were on the floor it was a sight to see. "Play Crack The Sky" was definitely the highlight.

jbright (December 7, 2007)

all had stunning sets in San jose, with the worst being Brand New. but a great tour nonetheless.

colin (December 7, 2007)

people have been complaining about the lack of old material but the last tour they did it was pretty much every song they wrote pre-devil and god, so i have no clue what all the bitching is for. the new stuff is so much better anyways.

i'm glad i didn't go to this tour just because of what thrice's set looks like, and i just cannot stand 90% of brand new's fans. but seeing lacey's cover of "car" would be nice.

TeaEssAre (December 7, 2007)

went to this. They are always fantastic, but recently the song choice has just been irking me.

I'm sad that they moved on from their deja stuff...i saw them right before the hype of the new cd in july of 06' at webster. One of the best fucking shows ever. Played nearly everything off of deja and YFW...but whatevs, they had to grow, i just hope they release soemthing as great as deja again.

WarIsPeace (December 7, 2007)

I can completely understand getting tired of playing certain songs and all....but it seems kind of a dick move to me to choose to play instrumental songs and a Built to Spill cover instead of playing the cheesy fan favorites.

the4footpartysub (December 7, 2007)

mewithoutyou put on a great live show

SloaneDaley (December 7, 2007)

that is a pretty crappy encore it has been about a year and half since I've seen them but I was pretty surprised then that they played a handful of songs off of Your Favorite Weapon I would expect even less now that the last full length has actually come out.

RightSaidFred4head (December 7, 2007)

Also, I was on the floor, funniest thing I heard:

This one kid was talking about the "My New Haircut" video, basically making fun of all the NJ/LI guidos. What he didn't realize is that he, himself, was a huge macho douchebag. Case in point:

KID: Yeah, I have this finance exam tomorrow
DOUCHEBAG: Don't worry man. Just smoke a joint, take some adderohl, study it up, drink a few beers, you'll be fine.

RightSaidFred4head (December 7, 2007)

Hammerstein can actually fit 5000 there chief. Roseland is 3500. So it's kind of a mini arena in a way (with the balconies).

skankbook (December 7, 2007)

I got dragged into seeing Brand New in April. They didn't play anything off "Your Favorite Weapon" and overall they were pretty boring. Good musicians, yes, but it was 25 bucks I'm never getting back.

nocigar (December 7, 2007)

i saw this show in Detroit. Brand New were fuckin great live......again.

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