On September 10th I went and saw Brand New perform at the Regency Grand Ballroom in San Francisco. This was an evening of firsts – it was the first time Brand New had been in San Francisco since 2009, the first time they had toured in a year, and my first time seeing them live.
Walking into the room, we all knew we were there for the same reason – the music we loved and an experience we would never forget. Each fan expected something different – for those seeing the band for the first time, they had no idea what to expect but knew it would be something they would remember; for those seeing Brand New for their fourth or fifth time, they knew the energy the band would bring but waited in anticipation for the songs the band would showcase. Everyone went straight to the front of the ballroom as soon as the doors opened, squishing up towards the barricade as close as they could in hopes that they would be able to catch something at the end of the show.
The show began and Robbers stepped onto the stage. They brought an easy indie vibe to the crowd that encouraged some bobbing heads and slow movement. After they closed their set, Sainthood Reps took the stage and brought a faster alternative vibe to the crowd causing them to jump and begin to push up closer to the stage. As I listened to both of these bands for the first time, I could tell that they were inspired by Brand New in some sort of way and pulled two different aspects from their music. Robbers was pulling from their slower, more melodic songs like “Jesus Christ” and “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.” Sainthood Reps were getting their inspiration from songs like “Seventy Times Seven” and “Vices.” With both of these bands opening, they exposed the audience to different musical aspects that Brand New would tie together as soon as they took the stage.
It was at 10 o’clock that Brand New finally ascended the stage, opening with “Sowing Season (Yeah).” The crowd surged and went insane as soon as the first “Yeah!” was sung; while there was no mosh pit, the amount of movement occurring throughout the crowd never stopped. Halfway through their set they played “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad“, off of their first album Your Favorite Weapon, followed by “Seventy Time Seven”, a fan-favorite and my favorite song by them. The crowd went supremely crazy during these two songs because they are very fast paced and come from their early days.
Brand New continued to intertwine songs from different albums and made their encore “At the Bottom,” “Jesus Christ”, and “Soco Amaretto Lime. The last song was played just by Jesse Lacey, the lead singer, as the rest of the band members walked off stage. All the fans were singing and many had tears in their eyes due to the lyrics that Jesse changed from “you’re just jealous cause we’re young and in love,” to “I’m just jealous cause you’re young and in love.” The tears also stemmed from not knowing when Brand New would be back and playing shows, or when they would release their next album.
This was one of the best concerts I have ever been to hands down. While Brand New did not talk a lot in between their songs, make jokes with the crowd or involve them too much with the live show, they delivered a set list and performance that they knew their fans wanted to see. The unique thing about Brand New fans is that they don’t just know “the popular songs” or the newest album, but they love each album and know the majority or all of the songs they played. Simply put, they’re dedicated – I met people who had seen them the night before in Chico and drove down to San Francisco to see them again, and one person who drove sixteen hours to see the band. This made for the entire crowd singing each song, sometimes even louder than the microphone was.
While no one knows when the next Brand New album will come out, or how much longer they will be around, the performances they give are not going downhill or lacking in any aspect. The next time they come around I know I will be there no matter how much tickets are or how far I have to drive.