As many bands have a moniker indicative of a myriad of implications, often in terms of clichés, an ironic contender, or perhaps maybe an appropriate contender, hailing (or maybe as evoked by their songs "sailing") from the shores of Long Island -- appearing on the crest of a wave jumping up from the Schuylkill River and across Kelly Drive -- Brand New arrives, ever loyal to their name in spite of, or maybe in conjunction with, their longevity, as evidenced by their performance at the North Star Bar July 10, 2009. Their set list surely was an indicator as to their collective attitude as musicians -- how many times have you gone to a show where you screamed for an old favorite and they just got pissy about it? Well, this was NOT the case for Brand New at the Northstar, with a set list that spanned their entire career (and a couple of other bands' careers) they showed the audience the difference between musical maturity/evolution and forced musical reinvention. Brand New still doesn't believe in filler (baby) and the songs they played on the tenth shows they carry that logic everywhere they go.
Brand New began their set in medias res of their career with "Guernica," a song off of their second full-length, Deja Entendu, then sank straight into two more jawns off of that album: "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades" and "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows." They then sank deeper into their musical past by playing "The Shower Scene" off of Your Favorite Weapon, then sifted back into Deja with "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't." Afterwards, they proceeded to play two new songs off of their upcoming September release, both showing hints of a musical shift, but still touching on the vigor of The Devil and God but seemingly more raw and straightforward in terms of the vocals. Following this "window into their musical future" they played a bit from their musical present, including "Sowing Season (Yeah)," "The Archers Bows Have Broken" and "Jesus" (with almost a brief interlude of Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy"). They then dove right back into the past with "Mixtape," "Flying at Tree Level" (surprisingly), "Seventy Times 7" and "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad."
Shortly after, an Everclear cover almost happened, but it soon turned into a crowd request for Weezer's "El Scorcho" -- and our wishes came true. (Who needs Weezer when you have Brand New covering Weezer?!) They followed it up with "Degausser" and "You Won't Know." Finally, everyone in the band sans Jesse took a seat at the edge of the stage and listened to him perform Neutral Milk Hotel's "Oh Comely." The freshness exuded by a band with such history is astounding in addition to their ability to update earlier songs in a live setting; Brand New remains "brand new" to the listener, every time they perform. It was a perfect ending to a perfect night.
For those who don't want to read through the whole thing, here's the set list (again):
- Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades
- The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
- The Shower Scene
- Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
- new song
- new song
- Sowing Season (Yeah)
- The Archers Bows Have Broken
(almost played Lit - "My Own Worst Enemy Here")
- Flying at Tree Level
- Seventy Times 7
- Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
(almost played an Everclear song here)
- El Scorcho (Weezer cover) (best thing ever)
- You Won't Know
- Oh Comely (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)