Gone is the reckless abandon of those intimate June shows as Brand New return to London. Swapping the confines of the Brooklyn Bowl for Alexandra Palace’s expanse, tonight Brand New mean glorious business.
From the opening rattle of ‘Soco Amaretto Lime’ through to the extended question of ‘You Won’t Know’, the band doesn’t waste a second with needless indulgence. Sleek, elegant and devastating, Brand New might be sticking to the shadows but their rainbow back catalogue is pristine.
The double shot of ‘Millstone’ into ‘Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades’ ignites the arena choir while the run of ‘Limousine’, ‘Sealed to Me’ – a new song written for Jesse’s wife – and ‘Jesus’ holds the crowd on an emotional, gut-wrenching knife point. And twists.
“It’s hard to separate this,” starts Jesse, gesturing to the crowd before him, “from the fact we started this band as teenagers writing songs in Brian’s bedroom.” It’s a rare moment of calm reflection from a band who, for a long while now, have managed to stay rooted in the present. A solo ‘Play Crack The Sky’ swiftly follows, feeding the creeping nostalgia before the rallying growl of ‘Mene’ draws a bold line underneath. It’s here that Brand New really come into their own. Meshing old, older and new effortlessly together, tonight feels unifying and daring with a sense of timelessness thrown in for good measure.
As the rumbling wall of noise comes to a juddering conclusion for ‘You Won’t Know’, the band collapse in on themselves. Instruments and bodies are thrown about, desperately wringing every ounce. Jesse rips the flowers from his mic stand and throws them into the crowd, laying the show to rest.
There’s no anniversary to celebrate and no album to promote. From the moment tonight was arranged until its haunting, dying throes, Brand New simply do whatever they want. It makes for one hell of a ride.
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