I scurried to the airport on Thursday evening, clearly a little cynical about air travel considering the past weekend's debacle. However, the flight was merely 15 minutes late to Milwaukee. Yes! Emily was there to pick me up and I got to hang out with her and Evan and their adorable pooches Penny & Jack as we reminisced about college and discussed the future (weddinz, 2012 apocalypse, srsly). The next morning, Emily drove me to the Warped grounds where Brian was waiting for me with a pass and I got to run on the bus and plant kisses all over the dead-asleep Fianz. I got in that bunk with my jeans and everything and slept until about noon, at which point I finally saw his face.
Jesse and I then hunted down his rental car and headed back to the venue for the MCS set. Saw Christy & Josh which was sweet, but unfortunately that was the only time I saw them all weekend! I rocked my newly-cut-up Oregon Trail shirt that Jesse had gotten me ages ago ("you have died of dysentery") and, I'm such a NERD, I got really excited when anybody complimented it. My excitement probably turned away a lot of people...um, sorry I'm not really wearing this IRONICALLY, I actually love Oregon Trail. Anybody?
I digress!! Where is my mind? (Canada, dude, secret project, work, cleaning...) But perhaps Friday can be best explained in pictures. I went to three shows, in two states, at three different venues. Let me shows you.
I was totally alone side-stage and I felt a little bit ridiculous jumping, clapping and dancing as I always do when they play without someone doing the same next to me. But I did it anyway - whatever. Their songs and live energy always puts a smile on my face. Always! And I've seen a lot of their sets.
We went to the front view during the last song. It was a great show to take in, and I realize now that I haven't seen them since before they released their last record, The Devil And God.... They played six songs off their first two albums, all in a row, in the middle of the set: Tommy Gun, Sic Transit, Jaws Theme, Shower Scene, No Seatbelt Song, and Play Crack the Sky. I was really excited to hear those last two. I got a little teary during Play Crack the Sky, because I remember the first time I actually took the time to listen to that song and my heart broke. It was one of those songs that I never really paid attention to, but then listened to it all on its own and it became weirdly profound - to me, and perhaps me alone. The rest of the set was from their last album, and I believe they also played a new song; everybody asked me if they played it, but I honestly don't know much of the songs on Devil and God, so I wouldn't know if was new or not.
Here's what I will say about Brand New. I love them. I remember buying Your Favorite Weapon freshman year of college. I remember going to their shows and flipping out. I remember buying Deja Entendu the summer it came out and playing it on repeat for weeks, maybe months. I wore their band tees all the time. I had that one kinda infamous shirt that said, "Mics are for singing, not swinging." It was stolen from me in my dorm's laundry room and I was pissed. I went to Warped 2005 in Massachusetts, and I swung by the press area to see my friend Seth, who was the boss dude at WBRU at the time. The station happened to be interviewing Brand New, and after they were done, Seth called the guys over to us and said, "This was the first person I saw wearing one of your shirts, and she's a huge fan." Being me (read: awkward), and looking down at my sneakers (yeah, the ones with the Brand New shoelaces), I was like, "Hiiiii...." and the dudes all shook my hand and were incredibly nice to me and said nice things and Jesse at one point said, "Come by the bus later and we'll hang..." - and I don't think in a band dude type way, you know? Anyway. I didn't go to the bus (remember, I was-slash-still am awkward) but I was totes happy that day knowing that one of my favorite bands weren't a bunch of assholes. Since The Devil and God came out, and perhaps a bit before, I think they've tried to cultivate a different air about them, a different sort of stage presence. Basically, Jesse goes on stage dressed like Kurt Cobain and acts like a petulant child.
And I get that he's a nice person, as I've witnessed and several people who are actually friends with him have told me, but the way I see him play shows now turns me off. And this isn't just Brand New - if any band I saw live acted so bratty on stage I'd be just as turned off. Up in the opera box we could hear Jesse's asides between songs, and it didn't help. I understand a band not wanting to be cast into a scene and restricted by a sound, but their act is doing nothing for me. It's a good thing that Deja Entendu meant so much to me at the time it came out (if you've heard Guernica you'll understand why), because I might not have kept up with the band after seeing one of these recent live shows.
Okay so there is my diatribe on Brand New - all opinion, my observations and absolutely nothing personal against them.
I did smile at the end of the set, however. The lights went down after the last note, and all you hear is Jesse say in a low, somewhat raspy voice: "Don't hurt the boy, Harvey." It was completely out of left field, and maybe completely unrelated, but it felt menacing and mood-correct at that moment. Plus, yeah, Dark Knight lover here.
After the show it was around 2 am and Matt, Pavan, Jesse and I were BEAT. (Sorry Perry & Jamie for not coming by AK!) We drove 40 minutes out of Chicago to Tinley Park, where Warped would be on Saturday. And proceeded to pass out! More on Saturday & Sunday, later. I think this was enough words, am I right? Plus, I gotta go get on a conference call. Secrets!