Brand New/Fairweather/Pretty Girls Make Graves - live in Iowa City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Brand New / Fairweather / Pretty Girls Make Graves

live in Iowa City (2002)

live show

After October 26th, Brand New has officially become back-of-my-car worthy.

What does mean, you ask? It means that out of the precious window space the back of my car has for stickers, Brand New has made the cut. This is not an easy task. Every sticker on the back of my car has earned it's way there. Dues have definitely been paid for each of those bands to turn my car into a walking billboard for them. And I am proud to let all traffic behind me know that Brand New fucking rocks my socks off.

But first, the opening bands.

I arrived just as local power-pop band Lucy Star's set was winding down. From what I heard as I tried to deal with the guestlist snafu [which I always seem to be involved in at every show], they sounded pretty tight. Fans of Superdrag and Fountains Of Wayne take note.

Next up was last minute addition to the bill Pretty Girls Make Graves. The band had just been added the morning of the show, due to their show in Omaha falling through. I [and a few others] welcomed them with open arms, while the majority of the crowd [covered in Hurley, Volcom, and Atticus shirts] acted like jackasses, moshing pointlessly [and driving me to the point of really being mean to some of them in their so called "pit"]. For future reference, if a big tall fat guy such as myself tells your idiot ass to stop bumping into him, stop. Otherwise be prepared for numerous punches to the back whenever your dumb ass comes flying my way. Anyway, PGMG rocked the crowd senseless [those who were listening, anyway], opening with "Speakers Push The Air" and blasting through a quick 6 or 7 song set that contained oldies like "Modern Day Emma Goldman" as well as two new songs [both of whose names escape me]. They made due without their drummer's sampler, and simply resorted to what they do best - blasting out the emotional punk rock with scorching female vocals as best as they could. All in all, Pretty Girls Make Graves got 2 big thumbs up from me, and they also got my hard earned cash, as I picked up their full-length CD as well as a bitchin' velcro PGMG wallet. Killer!

Moving on, we had the Virginian quintet known as Fairweather. I was bored the last time I saw them [during Krazyfest 4], but their sound was much, much better [and more original!] this time around. I believe they played all of their Alaska EP [or at least 3 songs off it], as well as a smattering of old material off "If They Move, Kill Them." Whenever a new song was played, my ears perked up to the heavier, more intense Fairweather. Whenever an old song was played, I zoned them out and focused instead on blocking the increasingly-annoying 15 year old moshers. Once Fairweather retires their old material to the Saves-The-Day-copycats graveyard, they'll get more of my attention. Until then, I'll always be split 50/50.

And now, the moment of truth! Brand New took the stage, and the place got instantaneously more crowded. Frontman Jesse took the stage and began strumming "Mix Tape," and as he built to the song's crescendo, the rest of the band took the tiny stage and the crowd surged forward. For the next 40 minutes, we were all in the palm of Brand New's hand, as they blasted through most every song on their debut CD "Your Favorite Weapon", and they even played "Moshi Moshi" off their split with Safety In Numbers. With each song the crowd became more intense, and the band more overwhelmed by the massive outpouring of support.

About halfway through the band's set, people started climbing onto the stage, simply to avoid the almost out of control crowd. Within another song, the crowd onstage had doubled to roughly 30 people [for those who have never been to Gabe's Oasis, 30 people + a band + equipment = a really fucking crowded stage]. As the band's sound grew sloppier [they couldn't even see each other on stage], the audience's singing along grew tighter and tighter, and the antics in the crowd grew stranger.

Along the top of Gabe's Oasis are a bunch of steel girders to reinforce the roof. The ceiling is low, however, so these can theoretically be reached if one was so inclined. Well, a lot of people felt so inclined, and began to swing monkey bars style across the entire venue, as well as hang themselves upside down by their feet and other crazy shenanigans. I merely just stood back and uttered "Holy Shit" repeatedly as I watched dozens of kids take over Brand New's stage, and handfuls more climb the ceilings in order to sing into the mics. This show was insane.

The band finally slowed down with a revised version of "Soco Amaretto Lime," and the crowd calmed. I had my pseudo-romantic moment of the night with the lady I was with [Dudes and dudettes, she put my arms around her waist! It was sweet.], and belted "Just jealous cause we're young and in love!" over and over again with reckless abandon. This show was reaching a breaking point.

That point was reached 2 songs later with the set closer "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad." Jesse and Vin just gave up playing about halfway through [they had already given up singing during the song prior ("Logan to Government Center")] and began to scale the scaffolding on the ceiling as well, leaving the band without any guitars. Did it matter? Not one bit. The talented rhythm duo of Garrett and Brian held down the proverbial fort, as the hundreds of kids in the crowd finished the song for them. After all band members were returned to the stage, they said a gracious goodnight by stating "Seriously, guys, this is the best show we've ever played. Thank you so much."

To be completely honest, I can't remember the last time I had as much fun during a band's set. Brand New proved themselves to me once more, and they again make me wonder why some bigger label hasn't snatched them up - they are the real thing.

Oh yeah, the Movielife "headlined" this show, but no one stuck around. The whole place cleared after Brand New played, the Movielife had to mop up the leftovers. Brand New were the real headliners, and they will continue to be for some time, I believe.