Despite very little being heard from Brand New since their 2006 release of ‘Daisy’, they can still pull a hefty crowd. Last night saw the 7,000 capacity Alexandra Palace hosted Brand New, drawing their cult-like following from miles around.
Ipswich-based alt-rock band Basement kicked off the night with an almost universally positive response from the crowd, many of which were clearly existing fans with plenty of Basement T Shirts to be seen throughout the venue.
With the crowd well warmed up following basement, Brand New’s set begun with lead singer Jesse Lacey quietly arriving on stage with only a small spotlight as the light source. The crowed held their breath in anticipation before the first notes of ‘soco amaretto lime’ rung through the venue, fuelling a mighty sing along and nostalgia for the early-2000s Brand New. Lacey might’ve been dwarfed by the size of the Ally Pally stage if not for his ability to captivate a crowd with his vocals which seamlessly move from clear, higher tones to gravelly and throaty screams.
Masked by a smokey stage, Lacey was swiftly joined by the rest of the band, ready for a burst of their heavier including ‘Vices’ and ‘Gasoline’, peaking with ‘Millstone’ where Lacey’s vocals demonstrate their talents with loud chanted woah-oh-ohs, eagerly lapped up by the crowd who scream echoes right back to him.
Brand New are a notoriously private band, seldom partaking in interviews and giving very little insight into the band on social media platforms. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the first words uttered by the front man weren’t until they were 5 tracks deep into the set list, announcing “we are Brand New” before launching into ‘Sic Transit Gloria’, a high point of the night, the firm fan-favourite demanding screams of “die young and save yourself“, somewhat ironic considering the majority of the crowd had long passed their teenage years. Over the course of the set, Lacey spoke for fewer than 5 minutes in total, which, whilst rather unconventional, has its benefits as Brand New boast a 4-album repertoire, not to mention numerous demo tracks. A lack of spoken words meant the band could plough their way through an 18-track setlist, rather impressive when multiple songs exceed the five minute mark.
To the crowd’s pleasure, the band played both of their new tracks, including the released ‘Mene’ and the unreleased, ‘Sealed to Me’, which Lacey briefly muttered was written for his wife, and how he is trying to be a better person. Several of their recent shows have lacked their newest additions, which would certainly be disappointing for fans who would be hoping to hear something new for the first time in several years. Both tracks sounded superb live, the talents of all members displayed at their peak, a climatic point in their career and a true testament to their efforts and skills as a band.
Brand New worked their way through pieces of each album, from ‘Mix Tape’ to ‘Jesus’, ‘Play Crack the Sky’ and ‘At the Bottom’ (but no ‘Seventy Times Seven’, somewhat disappointingly), they ended their set with a heavily extended version of ‘You Won’t Know’, one final hoorah of their musical talents, with guitarist Vincent Acardi being particularly impressive, clear passion and talent evident in his work, throwing himself and his guitar around the stage.
Last night was the 6th time in so many years that I have seen Brand New, and if one thing is true, it is this: Brand New are a band with honed and diverse talents, who put energy and heart into every show, and generate an unparalleled atmosphere every time; with a few stops left on their UK tour, be sure to catch them if you can.
Review by Sophie Weller