Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My lungs are fresh and yours to keep.

Let me start with Friday.

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.

(Preview: my arm at the end of the night. Not including Warped pass.)

2PM. Motion City Soundtrack - Warped Tour. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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.

8PM. Radiohead - Lollapalooza. Chicago, Illinois.

This is what it felt like to see Radiohead. Ha. But really, it was an amazing two hour set. Matt, Pavan, Jesse, and I headed out after MCS's set in the rental car to make it just for this. We watched from the Lolla Lounge, which, after sweating for half an hour just trying to GET to the left side of stage, we were so thankful to find it was also accommodated with an open bar. Yes! Perry was also in the lounge, and it was fun and strange to hang out with her in a place that wasn't New York! I don't think I've ever seen such a large crowd for a concert in person - and I went to Lollapalooza last year. It was epic. The lighting tubes hanging were magnificent, and Pavan was quite geeking out about all the production. Jesse and Matt picked up some sweet tees while Pavan and I reminisced about the 90s. The only complaint was that the sound was soft. It wasn't loud - it didn't boom and echo. During the end of "Fake Plastic Trees" some actual fireworks were going off and if the song didn't kick in at a certain point, I'm sure the song would have been drowned out. However, it's Radiohead and the fireworks made it even more incredible. Duh.

As we're heading out of Grant Park, Matt spots this gentleman. He had a lot of fun.

1130PM. Brand New - House of Blues. Chicago, Illinois.

We got these sweet side-stage "opera box" seats at the House of Blues, that had a couple of other people in it. There was a dude in our box who said, "Is that a Harajuku Lovers camera??" in an incredulous voice. I was embarrassed (but, srsly, it's SO cute), but he goes, "I DJ for No Doubt!" And shows me this No Doubt tattoo he has on his ankle. I don't know exactly what he meant, and I don't know if I really cared, but it's always fun for me, super ND fan. Moving on. The show finally started around midnight? 1230?

Vinnie was into it, obvs.

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!


  1. Jesse was totally bratty at his performance Saturday too. He kept saying "why are you all here?! go watch explosions" and other comments and threw and broke his guitar. it was kind of a bummer.

    When I seen them 4ish(?) years ago, I definitely don't remember such attitude. I feel the same way about Deja Entendu. I really wish they would have played more because it's just such an amazing album. They didn't play anything from their first album either. All in all, happy to see them, just wish it was better.

    Okay, I'm done taking over your comments! Come back to Chicago!

  2. jamie - ah, jesse lacey. i feel like it's just his plan to alienate everyone. but we still come back, don't we? &I visit Chicago pretty often - I love doing so. MCS plays it every tour, so next time! Next time! :)

  3. I've hear you on Brand New - it sounds like they've been struggling with their image and their fans for a while and they're just dealing with it really poorly.

    But they've always been a bit of a volatile bunch, maybe they just make better music when that volatility is focused on...you know....Taking Back Sunday/Straylight Run, and not their fans lol

    I laughed out loud when you looked down at your sneakers with the Brand New laces though - that's an amazing way to put that feeling down lol = )

  4. kyla bea - i think brand new wants to put forth this image of a battered, struggling artist. they've always been self-reflective about themselves & the scene, but they've gotten to a point where they kind of make it feel like it's you-the fans- fault. i have to say, i loved the pop-punk rivalries and drama of the early 2000s. tbs/brand new, midtown/drive-thru/dashboard - i was an avid follower. :)

  5. I feel the same about Jesse Lacey. I saw them in 04 right after Deja came out and they were so cool - esp Jesse! We had chats about Long Island and other randomness. So down to earth. Then I saw them right before and after Devil and God came out and he was a total different person. He comes out with a hood over his head and mumbles into the mic. Doesn't say a word and get's annoyed when people sing with him. Then lays on the floor face away from the audience just wailing and playing the same note over and over. Crazy. It makes hesitant to see them again!

    Man I loved those rivalries. I was on Team TBS and Team Brand New. Couldn't pick a side. Never on team Straylight though ;)

  6. kristen - i heard about all this hood over the face/wearing a beanie over his head while playing and stuff. that's the kind of thing where i'm like, "why are you taking yourself so seriously???"

    i listened to TBS, but i was always more on brand new's side. ha. and i don't remember a straylight run rivalry? the day that i talked to jesse at warped was right before nolan announced straylight run, and jesse played with a handmade shirt that day that said "straylight run" and so i always figured they had made up and were friends.

    i also never got into anything tbs put out after nolan left the band. i'm sorry, i liked nolan's voice better as the "2nd vocal." there were a few okay songs, but "tell all my friends" will always be my favorite.

  7. I do prefer John Nolan TBS but Freds voice took some getting used to! Tell all your friends was soundtrack to my sophomore year of college! And they shot the Greatest Romances.. video at my college. Classy.

  8. kristen - yeah, i really didn't like breaking pangea whenever they were opening, and was quite sad that somebody from that band would be replacing john. uh, fun fact, i also ran into nolan-era tbs by announcing them onstage at the worcester palladium a few years ago. nolan was a sweetheart.

    okay, another thing about tbs, how come their videos always suck? nothing against your school, OBVS, but i was never impressed with tbs videos. brand new wins in that category with the vid for "sic transit" ...uh, hello chest touching...hahaha...

    i should probably stop.

  9. AHAH the video they shot at my school was super lame but always a fun fact I liked to share.
    You announced them at the Palladium!? That's effing cool. So jealll.

    Ahh Sic Transit. That part is kindd of sexy. Actually it's ALOT sexy. Yes I shall stop too.

  10. The chest touching is the best part of the Sic Transit video, haha. Such a great video.

  11. Oh, and on the topic of Brand New's live show.. have you ever seen videos of Jesse on his solo tours? He's a completely different person. He chats and jokes around with the crowd, he even answers questions. In one of those videos, he says that at big shows, he feels completely disconnected from the crowd as if there's a barrier and so he focuses on the music. Something like that.

    I saw BN 3 times in 2007 and they did not disappoint me. Jesse is different from his Deja days, but I like watching how emotional he gets during songs like You Won't Know and Degausser. :shrug:

  12. I'm sorry I didn't get to be your side stage girlfriend... but boys are stupid sometimes and make horrible decisions. But you get to see how much fun I'm having soon AND get to join in!!! Stoked!

  13. jessica - that's so weird about jesse. i can totally see that disconnect at "big shows" - but, perhaps that has to do with him? i know a lot of people who love the devil and god and the new persona of their live shows, which is great. it just not my fave :)

    joyce - stoked to see you this weekend! been too long!

  14. Randomly found your blog -- I was also at Lolla in the Lounge for Radiohead! Freakin' great show... my first live Radiohead experience and I was not disappointed :] the fireworks def made it that much more memorable. Hell on earth trying to leave the park though, haha! 75,000 people... sheeesh!

  15. sonya ina - it was my first time seeing radiohead live, too! amazing. omgz, leaving grant park was insane. trying to drive three blocks away with all the people out? torture.

  16. Oh man, I bet! My friends and I only had to walk to our hotel, but even doing that was torture. I can't imagine driving, eeeek!

    I have to admit, if I didn't have a LollaLounge wirstband I definitely would not have gone. The air conditioned bathrooms were a lifesaver, and of course the complimentary libations, hehe :]

  17. sonya ina - yeah, all we had to do was drive to the freakin' house of blues off of michigan. OOF. it was crazytown.

    and def would not have gone if i didn't have a wristband. i went last year with a wristband as well (mcs played it) and i just don't think i could ever do lolla any other way. free drinks! non-port-o-potty bathrooms! woo!

  18. Hmm, it's weird because I remember seeing BN with Dashboard like five years ago, and Jesse had the same attitude he has now. Every time I've met him, he's been pretty much a jerk, dude has a super ego. The rest of the band are incredibly nice, Jesse just needs to get off his high horse.