Get Up Kids / Brand New

Get Up Kids / Brand New: live in New Yorklive in New York (2009)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

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

There was a "very special guest" opening for the Get Up Kids Friday night at their highly anticipated NYC show, but no one seemed to be sure who it was. The talk I came across said Reggie & the Full Effect, which would have made perfect sense -- James Dewees is already there and sort of broke up his.

There was a "very special guest" opening for the Get Up Kids Friday night at their highly anticipated NYC show, but no one seemed to be sure who it was. The talk I came across said Reggie & the Full Effect, which would have made perfect sense -- James Dewees is already there and sort of broke up his one-man show on a tour last year. I guess that would've been cool to see.

I called the Blender Theatre at Gramercy around 5:00, trying to figure out just who this opener was, though. "Matzoh Ball, 10:00." "Alright, thanks." I hung up and then realized I thought I heard her say Matzoh Ball. No...that couldn't be right, I thought. As I would later find out, I was just about right -- whoever was opening was going by the name Matzoh's Balls (and also, Lando Cal Ripken Jr. Sr.). But I spent the ride into Manhattan that night thinking what band name could possibly sound like "Matzoh Ball."

I actually wore a Brand New shirt to the show, thinking there was little-to-no associations between the bands and it wouldn't be them. Why would it be? It's not as if they were ever even label- or tourmates, or from remotely the same geographic area.

I'd, however, completely forgotten about when Brand New was supposed to play with the Get Up Kids a few months ago at a college show in Alaska before volcanoes pre-empted their plans. This potential pairing became realistic when a friend told me she saw Jesse Lacey hanging out in front; but there was a backlined drumkit for the Get Up Kids erected and one for the openers set up, too, which meant it definitely wasn't a solo artist. Then she saw the Brand New sticker on an amp onstage. Wow.

Their playing was easily one of the best show surprises ever for me. I guess I haven't been on messageboards in the past week or two as often as I used to be, but it was definitely for the better. Brand New innocuously walked out onto the stage at precisely 10:00 and began playing the haunting opening chords to "You Won't Know." The crowd was absolutely dead for half the set, which pulled from 2006's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, but they woke up for a few songs, particularly "Tommy Gun," "Jesus" and "Quiet Things." Of course, a pop-punk frenzy erupted after Lacey asked, "Do you want to hear an old song?" "YEAHHHH!!" went the crowd. "Or a new song?" "Ehhhh." "What about a really old song?" "YEAHHHHH!!!!!!" "Alright, 'Seventy Times 7' it is." Even though I already saw the band play Your Favorite Weapon front to back in this very venue last year, it was cool to see an oldie here again, being closer to the stage and having a little more room from a crowd that, while proving the Get Up Kids and Brand New have plenty of overlapping fans, still were a little staid. A bit of a pit broke out in the middle for this one and the audience seemed sufficiently warmed up. The band added an atmospheric quality to the bridge that connected it to their newer stuff well, then fucked around by playing the intro to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" until Lacey botched that first slower guitar riff ("der ner") before the vocals come in.

Brand New actually sounded great for the entire set and I was stoked to hear the new song live in person. It's called "Trees" (at least on some set lists) and it's a blistering, dark cut that further progresses the propulsive paranoia and complex musical chops of Devil and God ("This song will be on our first record," joked Matzoh's Balls frontman Lacey); I've read some complaints from people that don't like Lacey's straight screaming of the lyrics throughout the song, but I love it. If any band that's on the mainstream/underground fringe is going to revive the mood of fucked-up intensity in modern music, I doubt they're gonna outdo Brand New.

Set list (10:00-10:44):

  1. You Won't Know
  2. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
  3. Trees
  4. Archers
  5. Jesus
  6. Degausser
  7. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
  8. Seventy Times 7
The best part about this was that the Get Up Kids were next. There's a handful of great bands who I never really even heard until later in their career, and with only a few years left to go I never took the opportunity to witness them in their original glory (though I'd enjoyed their cuts on various Punk-o-Ramas, I only really got into Hot Water Music in 2004 and wouldn't see them until their 2008 reunion). Same with the Get Up Kids; I probably first heard them in 2000 or 2001, but they took longer to grow on me over the years, unlike my immediate resonance with, say, Saves the Day. And their farewell tour certainly didn't come close to where I was living in 2005 (Pittsburgh). So I was pretty psyched for the opportunity to finally see them.

A pretty suffocating thrust of people near the barricade, overzealous drunkards and sloppy crowd surfing couldn't ruin what turned out to be an expectedly great set from the Lawrence, KS outfit. They played stuff in the order you might expect them to if you've seen them live before or even heard the Live @ the Granada Theater album. The reactions from the crowd were really predictable, too, with "Campire Kansas" warmly received but a little cold for anything else from On a Wire or Guilt Show. Still, this is an atmosphere whose predictability I've been raring for for a while, now. I was surprised to see the crowd go absolutely batshit crazy for pretty much anything off Four Minute Mile, though, especially "Don't Hate Me," snuck in during the encore.

The irony of definitively grown men under a "Kids" moniker was not lost on the band, as they cracked the occasional joke about it. Matt Pryor looked like your older uncle, but he was sprightly and his voice was still dead-on, grainy, gritty and youthful for every passing sing-along. James Dewees was the polar opposite of his Reggie personality, isolated on stage left with his keyboard and mic, facing the outside side of the stage and never really addressing the crowd. It was cool; he definitely held up his end of the bargain.

Man, though, I think the crowd was severely bummed out when the band chose to close with "Walking on a Wire." Here's the thing; I love that album. It's my favorite Get Up Kids album. That song, in particular, is just incredibly dramatic and pained that it stands out so well on an already great record that reflects and pours emotion out like nothing else in the band's canon (thanks to Pryor's divorce at the time, I believe). So I thought it was a superb finish, if not a bit depressing, but I think I held the minority opinion.

Set list (11:08-12:29)
  1. Coming Clean
  2. Action & Action
  3. The One You Want
  4. Valentine
  5. Holiday
  6. Woodson
  7. Never Be Alone
  8. Red Letter Day
  9. Up on the Roof
  10. Campfire Kansas
  11. Holy Roman
  12. Mass Pike
  13. No Love
  14. I'm a Loner Dottie, A Rebel
  15. I'll Catch You
  16. Close to Me
  17. Don't Hate Me
  18. Ten Minutes
  19. Walking on a Wire


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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.
carnivoroustree (May 4, 2009)

I wish I was there.

detachedretina (May 3, 2009)

Kansas City, not Lawrence.

Archangel (May 3, 2009)

Oh fuck I would cut off a toe to attend this show.

Chadreligion (May 3, 2009)

The Get Up Kids are awesome live! I've seen them headline Emo's behind Something To Write Home About, and opening for Green Day... both times they were tight as hell and seem to be having a good time.
Score is for the setlist and time....
Decent selection of songs, but for that length of time, I think they could have played a little longer, and especially the price they were asking for tickets!

Not sorry I missed this

mashole (May 2, 2009)

why did i not know about this show?!?! i cant believe i missed the get up kids...im seriously gna cry especially with brand new secretly opening

spacemanspliff (May 2, 2009)

This must have been incredible. I finally saw BN after they released The Devil and God (which worked out, it's their best record), and that show was amazing. I can only imagine The Get Up Kids performing after them. Jesus. Plus, I would kill to see that "Trees" song live before they release it. I heard Jesse's version, and it was great. I agree about the Cobain-channeling thing.

mattp330 (May 2, 2009)

waling on a wire is an amazing song to hear live. i love it and the one time i got to see it live it was perfect

choop (May 2, 2009)

I want this show in my memory. But it's not. And it makes me sad. Must've been spectacular.

overdefined (May 2, 2009)

During the On A Wire tour, when they would play the title track, they had this awesome light show thing with the outline of a city scape all over the stage and crowd. It was incredible and the highlight of the show. That is a hugely underrated album and song.

parishiltonisametaphor (May 2, 2009)

Score is for the "wish I had been there" thing

rakehand (May 2, 2009)

the show was really great and it seemed like everyone had a whole lot of fun. the only thing missing was 'better half'.

peacethrubiking (May 2, 2009)

saw this in LA at the troubadour... they ended their regular set with "walking on a wire" which is perfect for the song before the encore but i agree it's not for the actual last song. by the way that record was around the time of Robbie Pope's divorce from the girl from the Anniversary not Matt... I believe Matt and Christine are still together.

colin (May 2, 2009)

pretty great GUK setlist.

would have loved to go to this, should have jumped down the four hours to NYC.

the new brand new songs are great. lacey channeling cobain is not a bad thing.

mikexdude (May 2, 2009)

Score is for something to write home about.

teaessare (May 2, 2009)

I love Brand New more than the Get Up Kids, so this show was just like a fantastic treat. I was a little upset how everyone wasn't going as crazy as i was when hearing the opening riff to "You Won't Know", but damn was I happy. Get Up Kids played great. Maybe the most fun i've had at a show in a while.

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