Below is a short review of Brand New's headline show at Manchester Academy, UK on 02/09/2012. I Am The Avalanche and The Xcerts joined them as support.
I know, I know - anotherBrand New piece on AbsolutePunk.net. Surprising, huh? Bear with me a moment. Before February the band hadn't toured over in the UK for over two years - an age for a fanbase as fervent as theirs and (whisper it quietly around these parts) I've never seen them live before. Did I mention that they brought two of the best live bands in the business with them for the ride? Well, now you can see that there was plenty of reason for me and 2999 other fanatics to pack into Manchester Academy to witness the second date of their sold out UK tour.
First up, The Xcerts entered through a wall of feedback and straight off the bat performed with a presence that belied their modest appearance and more than filled the huge (but criminally empty) room with their seething noise-pop. Much like the show's headliners, this young Scottish trio managed to be frenetic, angular and melancholic all at the same time throughout a half-hour romp of a set that included grunge-tinged anthem “Scatterbrain” and culminated with an angsty run through “Hurt With Me”.
I’ve said it before and I’m more than willing to say it again: this band will be huge one day. I mean, massive. With that live show and those songs in their armoury; it’s time that one of the UK’s best kept secrets broke out.
After a five year absence from the UK, I Am The Avalanche fans have been starved of the band of late. That said, they're well on their way to making up for it with their second stint on these shores in just under two months.
It was pretty apt, then, that the highlight of their set was the booming "I'll Be Back Around", which proved what we already knew - I Am The Avalanche are a formidable live prospect. In Vinnie Caruana they possess one of the best voices in modern punk and they carry an infectious energy that just about rippled through the mostly static crowd on tracks like "Gratitude".
Searing, gritty and direct, Caruana and co. swaggered through a half-hour that leaned heavily on 2011's Avalanche United. "I Took A Beating" capped an accomplished performance but by then it was clear that the Manchester crowd were here for one thing and one thing only: Brand New.
From the onset, the band were greeted as what they are to most of the room - returning heroes. Arriving with a typical air of mystery through a cloud of smoke, the band launched straight into "Welcome To Bangkok" before peeling off the anthemic "The Archers Bows Have Broken".
Over the years it's proved impossible for people to decide if BN are best at their most direct on tracks like "Seventy Times 7" or on tracks like "Jesus Christ" where both Jesse and crowd brood together, building and building into a shimmering, room-wide singalong.
Whatever your opinion, there's no denying the power of this band. From a wonderful jaunt through "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" to newer tracks like "Gasoline", pretty much everything was immaculate. Even an uncharacteristically loose run through "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades" was masked by the sheer enthusiasm and volume of the crowd.
Keeping onstage chat to a minimum, the band got their heads down and ran through the rest of a set that included most of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and choice cuts from Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, pausing only to offer the crowd a choice between "Play Crack The Sky" and "Soco Amaretto Lime". See what Manchester picked below.
A final salvo of "Jesus Christ", "Degausser" and the climactic "You Won't Know" capped a euphoric set and a brilliant night perfectly, proving beyond all doubt that Brand New more than live up to the hype around them. Jesse Lacey talked last year about wanting to stop "bumming fans out". Looking at the smiles plastered across the faces of the 2,000-odd fans pouring out of the venue, I don't think he or Brand New have anything to worry about.