Brand New's 'Science Fiction' Tour Is a MustSee For the Uninitiated: New York Live Recap
publish date: 2017-10-20
Few people coming to a Brand New show in 2017 are looking to be won over.
Tickets to last night’s (Oct. 19) performance at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre -- the Long Island emo legends' sixth concert since August’s No. 1 album Science Fiction -- sold out instantly, and those initially locked out of the regal, 3,000-seat concert hall had to pay upwards of $100 to find their way in. If you wanted to purchase a limited edition Brooklyn gig poster, you essentially had to arrive the second doors opened at 6:30, long before openers Nada Surf took the stage, and bum rush the merch table. Jesse Lacey and company could’ve sang the whole set in the voice at 2:44 of “Same Logic/Teeth,” and those in attendance would’ve told their friends how it really just added to the legend of Brand New. But instead, the seventeen-year old rock band is using the early rounds of a potential farewell tour to explore completely new experiences.
It’s most obvious in the stage show. A second drummer and third guitarist (a role this tour aptly manned by longtime associate Kevin Devine) have been staples across Brand New’s recent, proggier years, beginning around the same time they took to wrapping their mic stands with a bouquet’s worth of flowers. But this time, Brand New indulged in an effects-laden stage show the likes of which you’d expect from a critically-adored, mid-level pop star exploring their Björk influence.
Beginning the show with Science Fiction opener “Lit Me Up,” the band was still visible, but playing behind a cage-like screen displaying abstract, woodland-esque projections. These corresponded with the screen behind them, and in between, luminous lamp bulbs decorated the stage. The mic stands seemed to be draped in more flowers than usual. It really was a multi-sensory spectacle, and its appeal transitioned well from the cavernous “Lit Me Up” to the piercing, scream-drenched Daisy salvo “Gasoline” at song two. Next up, the barrier lifted just as “Out of Mana” lurched into its gnarly climax of siren-like guitar. Now in plain view, Brand New was off and running.
The set careened from song to song, the crowd's collective mood seldom dropping below meditative hypnosis, often peaking around moments of noisy catharsis. Frontman Jesse Lacey addressed the masses just twice (once to acknowledge the beauty of the venue, once to acknowledge Nada Surf), apparently focused on embodying and delivering -- just plain living in -- each of Brand New's songs. Snapping between screams and whispers, his voice, a far weatherbeaten cry from the snotty pop hooks of Brand New's early work, held through haunting and defiant. Along with Devine's and Vinnie Accardi's, his guitarwork was knotty and jarring.