Oswego Show Review


The following review of the March 3 Brand New show in Oswego, New York was written by our very own Sean O'Kane, and ran in the March 5 edition of Oswego's Palladium Times.

Touring could be easier for Brand New. Just a few years ago they had a gold-selling album, late-night talk-show performances, and multiple videos on MTV.

This past Saturday, however, they drove over 300 miles through a Central New York winter storm to play at SUNY Oswego's Laker Hall. They left the metropolitan suburbs of Long Island for a city with no Starbucks in sight. They endured a large crowd with a very short attention span. They even had to play the rock-concert-staple encore with all of Laker Hall's lights on (a blunder that baffled the band, the crew, and the crowd).

What separates this band from others is they still cared enough to put on one of the best shows Laker Hall has seen. Their no-frills rock show featured mostly songs from their newest release The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2006), and a handful from their previous two releases; their first album, Your Favorite Weapon (2001), and most popular album, Deja Entendu (2003), feature the most commonly requested songs at live shows.

Boldly opening the show with the very loud instrumental "Welcome to Bangkok," Brand New followed with two more from the latest album before awakening the crowd with Deja's "Sic Transit Gloria...," one of their most popular singles.

After shifting gears back to newer material like the thumping "The Archers Bows Have Broken" (drummer Brian Lane's nightly workout), frontman Jesse Lacey released his band-mates to the wings of Laker Hall while he acoustically serenaded the crowd. His choice to cover Neutral Milk Hotel's "Oh Comely" missed with most, but he reeled them back in with "Play Crack the Sky," a sorrowful tune about a shipwreck off the Long Island shores.

The band reassembled during "Handcuffs," the final song from The Devil and God, which starts with just Lacey but welcomes back the full band along the way (guitarist Derrick Sherman and bassist Garrett Tierney do their share of moving on and off stage due to constant dynamic shifts in the music).

The stale crowd stood still through "Not The Sun," a recent and blissful addition to the band's live set, but succumbed when guitarist Vin Accardi began strumming the first bars of the fan-favorite "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't..."

While the next two songs were the only from Your Favorite Weapon, they kept the crowd's energy high as the show began to wrap up. Aside from within the group of die-hard fans directly in front of Lacey, this proved to be a chore throughout the night.

Brand New finished strong with the only single from The Devil and God, "Jesus," the sonic boom and screams of "Degausser," and the thrashing ebb and flow of "You Won't Know."

As the band left the stage to pause before their scheduled encore, someone mistakenly turned on all of the auditorium lights. After the confusion, Accardi re-emerged and layered guitar riffs before the full band joined him for the six-minute-plus instrumental jam "Untitled," ending the show much like it began.

For a band that has performed at the famed Madison Square Garden, had three successful and diverse records, and garnered a loyal fan base willing to travel just as far through the same weather for a show, Brand New could have written off Saturday as just another night.

They didn't, and that's what makes them great. They've focused on passion instead of fame. If Oswego is lucky enough to have them return, the fans will be there. Let's just hope the weather is nicer. ----


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