Who: Brand New
Where: Kool Haus, Toronto
When: November 22 2009
Excitement: the state of being emotionally aroused and worked up.
Words can transform into stories and photographs can speak with their own tongue, yet neither can truly describe the excitement brewing in the atmosphere before Brand New’s set. Although the New York quintet shook Toronto with their first show the night before, the very same venue was still cluttered. Every inch was occupied by fans of all ages, including affectionate couples and groups of friends hoping to release energy and emotion through musical freak outs in the mosh pit. It was a concert to the naked eye, but it was a piece of heaven for some.
The sold out show started off on a predictable but loud note. Crime In Stereo amazed some with their raw and original material, gaining fans with every melody and lyric while Daryl Palumbo and Glassjaw erupted with a ferocious set that enticed a large group of followers. Both acts entertained ears and provoked heads to nod along, but the anticipation that settled near the ceiling was growing.
After a few weak chants, the lights finally vanquished and the crowd exploded with happiness. The moment had presented itself with a glowing face. As the group took the stage and enticed on-lookers with their intro, they tore a page from Daisy and launched into “Sink”. Starting with such a new track ignited the crowd and teased minds, leaving starving individuals with nothing but a thirst.
Then Brand New did the unexpected.
Instead of making eardrums whimper in delight with another new number, they dug a hole in their past. Introduced by a far too familiar riff, frontman Jesse Lacey crooned out the opening verse of “Degausser”. Fans found themselves in disbelief but soon joined the singer and helped him recite the lines, turning what once was a sea of faces into an untamed riot. Brand New continued to feed the frenzy they created and belted out numbers such as “You Won’t Know”, “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t” and “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades”.
But the nostalgic beating didn’t stop there. Despite proclaiming in the past they would never revisit Your Favourite Weapon, the band unleashed a trio of songs that shattered minds and provoked dumbfounded facial expressions. Once they trickled into “Mix Tape”, they followed with “Jude Law And A Semester Abroad” and “Seventy Times 7”. Each song bellowed forgotten memories, produced unforgettable sing-a-alongs and even made it seem like time stopped for just a minute. That is until the set rambled on and things got louder.
The most impressive performance of the night came when Lacey found himself alone on the stage, serenading the crowd with “Limousine”. Rather than having the entire band there (until the guitar solo/ending), the frontman wailed line after line, making the unique version of the track a haunting yet soothing experience.
Being able to pound through new songs that put recorded versions to shame (“Vices”, “Daisy”) and older ones that screamed with a bit more edge (“Sowing Season (Yeah)”), capped off the entire set with grace. Noticing that two concerts in Toronto were sold out seemed unusual to some on paper, but it wasn’t. The reason? The excitement. It grew from a clear-cut feeling that hibernated in the line outside into a delirious monster that patiently waited as every minute passed. Seeing such excitement and energy is rare. When fused together with an artist like Brand New, it only does one thing.
It hatches a dynamic performance and an unforgettable Sunday night.