Brand New/The Beautiful Mistake/Senses Fail - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Brand New / The Beautiful Mistake / Senses Fail

live in Chicago (2003)

live show

I hate Chicago.

I hate crowd of people in Chicago.

I hate traffic going into and leaving Chicago.

Conversely, I love Brand New and Moneen.

Was it enough to make this show worth the pain? We'd see.

I arrived a handful of minutes after Moneen had taken the stage, entering the Metro to hear the breakdown of "Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?" echoing down the stairwell. I jogged up the steps [who am I kidding, I walked my fat ass] and jumped in the photo pit to get some choice pictures of these Canucks. Due to complete lack of crowd interaction/interest, I was able to stay in the photo pit the rest of their set, where they played such spicy jams as "To say something that means nothing to anyone at all" and even trotted out oldie "Passing of America." They closed their all-too-short set with recent MP3 of the week "Start angry... end mad," and as they wrapped up to a smattering of bored applause and I got out of the way as soon as possible, since Senses Fail were up next.

As I went back downstairs to browse the merch selection, Senses Fail started their shitfest of a set. At first, I legitimately thought that Finch was making a surprise appearance, as it sounded just like them. Then when I went back upstairs, I realized "Hey! They're on Drive-Thru! *That* explains it!" Either way, they were absolutely terrible and way too many of the kids were moshing to them, which led me to believe that this would be a long, long night.

The Beautiful Mistake [The Militia Group's version of Further Seems Forever/Thursday] scored the penultimate slot for the night, and received virtually no crowd response [except for a few patches of kids here and there in the sold out crowd of 1100]. I've been on the fence on this band for the longest time, and seeing them live didn't help their case at all. Their bassist seemed *way* too into himself, and the rest of the band just seemed a bit overwhelmed at the crowd. They were scheduled to play for 45 minutes, stopped playing at 35, and it still felt like an hour. I still can't decide if I should keep their CD or not.

So as Brand New was setting up, the crowd grew even denser, tempers were starting to rise [some girls almost got into a fight right in front of me, I had to gently diffuse the situation], and the frat boys were positioning themselves to push their way to the front of the barricades. As Jesse Lacey and company slowly took to the stage behind a rather large banner that proclaimed "Brand New" around 9PM, the crowd started to cheer. After peeking at the setlist taped to the ground, I was surprised to see the band open with "Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis" [which wasn't written down at all] instead of listed opener "Tatou." Immediately the crowd began singing along, to Jesse's surprise. As he would discover over the rest of the night, almost every new song was sung along with word-for-word. Makes you wonder just why their opening week CD sales were rather low [only about 6,000 scanned]. Damn kids and their Kazaa, or whathaveyous.

Anyway, they kicked it into high gear with "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" next, and the crowd came to life. Crowd surfing began almost immediately, and fearing my head getting kicked in while standing in the photo pit, I ran to the side and had a seat on the far right barricade for the remainder of the show [to the chagrin of the short girls standing behind me].

The band rocked a number of old numbers, including "Failure By Design," "Mixtape," and "Magazines," but the majority of their set seemed focused on Deja Entendu. Out of the 12 song set, over half of them were off the new album.

What's that, you say? 12 songs is short for a headlining band of Brand New's caliber? I agree. Songs like "The Shower Scene," "Soco Amaretto Lime," and another new song that I can't remember were all on the setlist, but due to time constraints, the band had to cut them and skip directly to encore closer "Seventy Times 7." They never even got to leave the stage, *that's* how pressed for time they were. Another interesting thing about their set was the exclusion of the new single, "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows." It wasn't even on the setlist, so it seemed rather unusual that they had no intention of playing it at all.

While Brand New played an excellent set balancing old and new [and really wowing me with just how amazing the new songs sounded live], the crowd was rather moronic. I'm sure many people in the audience were well-behaved and polite, a few bad apples definitely spoiled the whole bunch. Two frat guys up front [I normally wouldn't stereotype, but they were wearing shirts with frat letters on them] were completely idiotic, singing the wrong words half the set, and pounding their fists down so they could flex their muscles. It was embarassing to realize that I share the same gender with them.

But I'm ranting. So overall, the show was half fun, half boring. Stacking that up to monumentally long traffic jams [both going into and leaving Chicago], 8 dollar parking, and missing a super-tiny Thursday show up in Edgerton, WI going on at the same time, I'm not really sure if it was worth all the hassle. What I am sure of is this:

  • Moneen rules the school.
  • Senses Fail is abso-fucking-lutely terrible.
  • The Beautiful Mistake is too green to get a spot that high up on the bill.
  • Brand New is way more talented than many of you give them credit for. Go see them before they're selling out arenas.

    SETLIST [somewhat in order]
    Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis
    Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
    Failure By Design
    Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die
    I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light
    The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
    Jaws Theme Swimming
    Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't
    Seventy Times 7