Happy Brand New Year!
Dressed neatly in button-up shirts and ties, the five members of Brand New gave an explosive and refreshing performance to the sold-out crowd at Atlantic City’s House of Blues on New Year’s Eve.
Brand New took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. and since there were no opening acts, show-goers did not have to wait long before hearing the instantly-recognizable introduction to the band’s first—and arguably most successful—song, “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows.”
The first six songs in the nearly three-hour set were performed in new, stripped-down arrangements. Even typically fast-pasted and intense songs like “Six Transit Gloria… Glory Fades” were not spared and were given the new treatment. While the arrangements were interesting, the crowd breathed a notable sigh of release when lead singer Jesse Lacey announced that the band was taking a short break and upon returning to the stage would be amping up the performance.
After 15 agonizing minutes of waiting, the band came back decked out in new outfits and carrying familiar electric guitars to perform one of the most notable segments of the show. To coincide with the recent rerelease of their first album—2001’s “Your Favorite Weapon”—the band played the album front to back. For fans, this meant getting to hear songs that are seldom heard live such as “Magazines” and “Logan to Government Center.”
The energy in the crowd was obvious, with everyone harmonizing with Lacey’s vocals as he sang the familiar lyrics. The performance of “Your Favorite Weapon” ended with the crowd favorite “Soco Amaretto Lime” and, coincidentally, so did 2011. The band planned it perfectly so that with the last notes of the song, a burst of confetti exploded into the crowd and balloons dropped from the ceiling in a welcome to the New Year.
Even though the year ended there, the show did not. With only a pause to wish his “friends” a Happy New Year, Lacey immediately began asking for requests from the crowd. In addition to playing typically-heard songs that had been pushed aside in favor of “Your Favorite Weapon” like “Jesus” and “Degausser” the band also ventured into less familiar territory. Playing songs like “Moshi Moshi” and even the fifth song from the never-officially-released Untitled Demos gave the performance an almost thrilling quality. Any song in their repertoire was fair game—Lacey even announced that they had to relearn many of the unfamiliar tracks in order to prepare for the concert.
Lacey is notorious for being capricious in terms of his performance but, for this particular event, he seemed to be remarkably on top of his game. His vocals were strong and he gave personal anecdotes and cracked jokes for the crowd.
The show ended with the always-emotional “You Won’t Know.” In true rock star fashion, Lacey even took his guitar and smashed it into the drum set during the song’s conclusion, opening a seemingly-irreparable hole.
Anyone lucky enough to be in attendance is sure to have welcomed 2012 in a way they will never forget. Here’s to a brand new year.
Alyana Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.