Emo heroes Brand New dazzle fans at Myth Nightclub

By Nellie Thomas

Much to the dismay of a lot of fans at the Myth last Tuesday, Brand New has matured immensely since the debut of its first album “Your Favorite Weapon” in 2001. The show started with an incredible performance from mewithoutYou, a somewhat unknown band from Philadelphia. Lead singer Aaron Weiss looked like any strange fellow one is apt to run into on public transport: skull cap, jacket, backpack, strange muttering followed by intense screaming-this guy would definitely freak you out. The choice was obvious for Brand New; mewithoutYou is essentially Brand New on heroin. Weiss spoke, sang, and screamed over driving melodic rock provided by a surprisingly chill backup band. The combination was generally well-received by the crowd, most of whom weren’t familiar with the music. The second act was post-emo favorites Thrice. To its credit, the band sounded much better than when I used to listen to them with all the other really cool kids at my high school. It seemed that half the crowd, mostly younger kids, was there just to see Thrice. They played several songs from their new concept album “The Alchemy Index,” which came out a little over a week ago, but the real crowd-pleasers were their older, more screamo-style songs. The metal guitar gave rise to a few hardcore dancers, which was a pleasant surprise. Living at Macalester, one tends to forget that there are people in the world who listen to music other than schleppy indie-pop (I’m guilty, too.)

Brand New played last, opening with its new single “Not the Sun” from its most recent album “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me,” which came out a little over a year ago. It was a great start; the sheer energy of the band is impossible to ignore. Most of the show was from the new album, with a few from “Deja Entendu.” The band played these old songs with a completely new approach, incorporating new guitar and drum parts as well as alternative vocals. In “Sic Transit Gloria,” a favorite from “Deja,” lead singer Jesse Lacey imitated the style of mewithoutYou’s Weiss and spoke-sang nearly all of the lyrics.

In the middle of the show Lacey played an acoustic set by himself, something that never would have happened at a Brand New show a few years ago. He surprised the crowd by playing a leaked song that was left off of the new album as well as a few old favorites. The band came back on shortly and closed with two excellent songs, one of which was written about a friend killed in a drunk-driving accident. Many of their earlier songs have discussed alcoholism, but never with the sense of regret that is brought out in “Limousine.” The encore was the best surprise of the night. Instead of playing an old single or a crowd favorite, they chose to play “Untitled,” an instrumental song with an eclectic sound and intense beat.

Throughout the concert many crowd members yelled for songs from “Your Favorite Weapon” but not one song from that album was played. The album is what could be called emo-punk; it focuses mainly on girl troubles and great parties. Like a lot of its fans, Brand New has grown up over the last six years, and their show proved it. Those that really enjoyed the show were fans of the new, more mature musical style and lyrics of “The Devil and God.” and came away from the show surprised and pleased.