Monday, November 16, 2009

Brand New, Thrice, & Crime In Stereo 11/14/09

Brand New, Thrice, and Crime In Stereo at the Electric Factory, 11/14/09.

This was night one of two sold out shows at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. It was also Thrice's last night on the tour (Glassjaw joined the following night). I knew it was going to be a great show at a great venue, and I was not disappointed.

Crime In Stereo was the opening band. I'd heard good things about them, so I was interested to see them. While they had a lot of energy, none of it translated to the crowd - everyone stood stock still while they played. Their singer had a great raw voice, but he just couldn't get the crowd into it. Maybe the crowd was just saving themselves for the headliners. They did note that they were from Long Island, which is probably why they were on the tour. Unfortunately, it's not the first time I've been less than impressed with Brand New's opening act - I actually fell asleep during Colour Revolt's set a few years ago. CIS' set list was:

*new song*
Small Skeletal
XXXX (The First Thousand Years Of Solitude)
Third Atlantic
But You Are Vast
*new instrumental*
Almost Ghostless/Above The Gathering Oceans

I was very excited for Thrice since I've never seen them before (gasp!) and I have been listening to them for a long time. They came barreling out of the gate and hardly stopped at all. Dustin Kensrue sounded great, and their set was efficient, for lack of a better term. This band clearly knows what they're doing. I was a little disappointed that they didn't play "The Artist In The Ambulance," but I wouldn't want to play one song every night of my life either.

Of Dust and Nations
All The World Is Mad
The Weight
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
In Exile
A Song For Milly Michaelson
The Arsonist

After pushing the break between sets as far as they could, Brand New finally came on stage. It was every bit as good as it always is. Jesse Lacey's voice sounds more raw every time I see them - I'm not sure if it's for effect, or if his voice is just that torn up. They used almost exclusively their own lighting setup - white spotlights from the ceiling, the tops of their amps, and on the floor behind them, plus warmer yellow lights behind them on the side. It created a welcoming but eerie feel. About halfway through the set during "Vices," a projection screen kicked in and began showing disjointed black and white images. I'm not sure if they meant it to begin during that song, or whether that was a technical malfunction. Can anyone comment on that? However, I did this it funny that they used Lyndon Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" campaign ad during the song of the same name. They also appeared to be filming for a live DVD or something - there was one guy running around with a video camera and another with a handcranked camera.

Welcome To Bangkok
You Won't Know
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
Sic Transit Gloria
Jude Law And A Semester Abroad
Seventy Times 7
Sowing Season
You Stole
Jesus Christ
Bought A Bride
At The Bottom
Play Crack The Sky

I think they did a great job of pulling from all their albums, especially Your Favorite Weapon. The crowd of course FREAKED OUT when we were presented with "Jude Law And A Semester Abroad" and "Seventy Times 7" back to back. I thought it interesting that they opened with "Welcome to Bangkok" since they had taken to closing with it. And while they did have a second drummer on stage with them, notably missing was the group jams with a dozen or more people. That is not to say that the show suffered because of it, but it was just different. There was still force and passion behind the songs - very much so. I felt that all the songs across all their albums flowed well with each other, despite the older songs being so different from the new songs. Brand New has learned not only to work a crowd, but how to have them eating out of the palm of their hand. As for me, Brand New shows are always a bit of an emotional experience - sometimes for just remembering what a song used to mean to me, and sometimes just for the sheer force of the music. Because of that, I will never miss a tour, even if I have to go to Philadelphia to catch it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Say Anything, Eisley, Moneen, & Miniature Tigers 11/8/09

Say Anything, Eisley, Moneen, & Miniature Tigers at the Recher Theatre 11/8/09.

It's been years since I've been out the Recher, mostly because it takes so long to get out to Towson. Granted, I was driving there in Friday rush hour traffic, but it was worth it for this show. Say Anything and Moneen are two of my favorite bands, and I'd never seen Eisley, so I was pretty excited.

I had not ever heard of Miniature Tigers before they were announced on this tour. I got to the Recher just as their set began, and it was good. They reminded me a lot of Vampire Weekend, and they had a good time using some odd instruments (I don't think I've ever seen anyone use a rain stick before). I missed the end of their set to go get some food, so I can't tell you much about their set list.

I dashed back in time for Moneen's set. They are one of my favorite bands to see live, since they just have SO much energy. To be fair, this wasn't their best performance - a little rougher around the edges than I've seen in the past. They were still having a good time with it and it was fun to hear their new songs. I don't remember their full set list, but what I can remember is:

Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do
The World I Want To Leave Behind
Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now
There Are A Million Reasons For Why This May Not Work... And Just One Good One For Why It Will
The Passing Of America

The mood in the room got much more focused and excited when Eisley came on. Their live show was every bit as good as people say it is. The womens' voices blended beautifully together, and they recreated the ethereal feel of their recorded songs. Their set list was something like:

I Could Be There For You
Mr. Pine
The Valley
Golly Sandra
Marvelous Things
Many Funerals

I was happy to hear quite a few songs off Room Noises, and of course Max Bemis came out to sing a song he wrote with Sherri Dupree. Despite all the drama their marriage has caused, they really are a cute couple.

The room exploded when Say Anything came on. They had set pieces that looked like the buildings on the new album cover, and the tiny windows even lit up. Max was his usual flamboyant self, and he was genuinely pleased that people were already singing along with the new songs.

Fed To Death
Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too
Alive With The Glory Of Love
It's A Metaphor, Fool
Shiksa (Girlfriend)
Hate Everyone
Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat
Have At Thee!
This Is Fucking Ecstasy
Baby Girl, I'm A Blur
Mara and Me
Every Man Has A Molly
Admit It!!!

I think they did a great job of mixing up the albums, and even if I'm not stoked on the new album, it works well live with the older stuff. The set lasted about two hours with the encore, which was quite a treat, even if I was exhausted by the end of it. I thought about skipping out during the encore, but I'm am glad I stuck around and heard "Admit It!!!" Just hearing Max's voice fall back and hearing the crowd take over was worth it. I'm glad to know they haven't lost it.