Brand New blends old and new at the Wang Theatre

The cover of 'Science Fiction' (2017), an unexpected album released by rock band Brand New and the band’s first record to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200. (Courtesy Procrastinate! Music Traitors)

After a much-too-long eight year waiting period since the release of Brand New’s fourth album “Daisy” (2009), the Long Island band didn’t let its fans wait any longer than necessary to listen to their new project. On a Tuesday in the middle of August, the band announced the preorder for the vinyl of their unnamed fifth album, coming in October. Two days later, the album dropped in its entirety, dubbed “Science Fiction” (2017). Despite the sudden and unexpected release, “Science Fiction” has been critically acclaimed and is the band’s first record to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Of course, a new album means a new tour is on the horizon, and Brand New made a stop at the Wang Theatre on Friday on their current run of shows in support of the new tunes. Their desire to put “Science Fiction” out into the world was apparent during the set, as seven of their 18 songs during the evening were from the album. This included the opening track and opening song during the show, “Lit Me Up” (2017), which lit the theatre up with throat-shaking bass as it roared on.

The night continued with great cuts from their entire discography, giving fans of all eras of Brand New something to sing along to. Early on in the set, Brand New pleased lovers of “Deja Entendu” (2003) and lovers of really long song titles with a run of “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t,” “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and “I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light” back-to-back-to-back. “Daisy” enthusiasts would be pleased with a back-to-back run of “You Stole” and “At the Bottom” later in the show, and fans of “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me” (2006) were thrilled by its appearance at the end of the night. “Jesus Christ,” “Degausser,” “You Won’t Know” and “Sowing Season” were screamed to the heart’s content of the crowd.

Taking a quick step back from the music itself, it must be noted how eerily beautiful the show looked visually on stage. Though they made sharp use of lighting, what really stunned the crowd was the backdrop that sometimes fell in front of the band almost like a fence between them and the crowd to create unique visual effects and an entirely new dynamic to the setlist.

Jesse Lacey, frontman of the band, was soft spoken during the night, hardly pausing between performances to engage with the crowd. In one interesting moment, though, he commented on “Same Logic/Teeth” (2017) from the new record, saying that it was actually a song that guitarist Vincent Accardi wrote several years ago. The track had never been fully fleshed out until it was revisited during the production of “Science Fiction.” Despite the overall lack of conversation with the crowd, the energy from Lacey and his bandmates was off the charts all night — they genuinely seemed overjoyed to be playing. This shouldn’t come as a shock, per se, but it’s refreshing to still see them excited to play in their 17th and almost final year of being a band. The dismay of many devout fans, the end of the project is looming very soon: Brand New has repeatedly stated that 2018 will be their last hurrah. 

The night culminated in what can only be described as an intersection of sadness and nostalgia when Lacey came out for an encore by himself with his acoustic guitar. Long-time fans of the band knew what was coming as the opening chords to “Soco Amaretto Lime” (2001) consumed the theatre. The classic song ended the night  — with loud singing, happy faces and maybe even a few tears. Lacey acknowledged the passage of time his band and he himself have gone through at the end of the song, changing the penultimate lyric, “You’re just jealous ’cause we’re young and in love” to “I’m just jealous ’cause you’re young and in love.” The album it came off of, “Your Favorite Weapon” (2001), is over 16 years old.

If there was a time to relive your emo phase among a crowd of people who love the same classic heart-wrenching jams you do, Brand New’s concert was it. If there was a time to see live renditions of one of (if not the) best alternative rock albums of 2017, Brand New’s concert was it. The band put forth the best of both worlds on Friday, showing Boston that its old hits still stand the test of time and that its new album continues their legacy as one of the best emo/alternative/whatever-you-want-to-call-it bands to ever hit the radio waves.


Summary

The band put forth the best of both worlds on Friday, showing Boston that their old hits still stand the test of time and that their new album continues their legacy as one of the best emo/alternative/whatever-you-want-to-call-it bands to ever hit the radio waves.

5 stars
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