Brand New – London Wembley Arena

By Tom Aylott

Sometimes a live music event creates a whirlwind of chatter among the ‘alternative rock’ crowd, and though tonight’s stage has been widly dubbed ‘too big to fill’ for the three bands, Wembley Arena certainly doesn’t feel anywhere near dead after the three sets of rabid fanbases start to pour through the doors.

First up are Thrice, who, despite not seeming at home in an arena sized venue and having replaced guitarist Teppei with a stand in for their early 2010 UK shows, warm up the expactant crowd with a well executed and tight set. I won’t claim I’m a Thrice expert, but of what I’ve heard, Deadbolt is the one song I’d have picked as a standout, and it wasn’t played tonight. If I was to pick a negative, that’d be it. That said, the band are on good form, really enjoyable and sounding fairly massive through the giant PA, so I could have endured anticipation and watched another few songs despite the band being my “least favourite” of the three. 3.5/5

After various cancelled appearances, side projects and hiatuses, Glassjaw tonight carry the weight of expectation on the big stage. Those choosing to go to Wembley instead of catching one of the headline performances around the country are numerous and excitable, and unfortantely neither the venue’s sound or the band’s song selection are up to scratch for their allocated half an hour. It’s not that the band play particularily badly- but fan favourites like Ry Ry’s song are tragically excluded and most of the band don’t really seem to care much about being where they are. There’s an air of frustration by the end of Glassjaw‘s set, and those shelling out for the triple bill for the strength of the line up rather than having the supports as a bonus will largely have come away disappointed. 2/5

So, Brand New. Whether you think Your Favourite Weapon is the only good one, that the band starts and stops with Deja Entendu or even that their evolution has mirrored your music tastes, you can’t really argue that Brand New haven’t had an impact on shaping scores of bands coming from both sides of the pond. Tonight’s been hyped as some sort of “second coming” and follows varied reception from fans and critics to latest effort “Daisy”, but judging by the way the band are acting, I don’t really think they care at all. The band are tight and focused, and Jesse Lacey’s favourite pasttime of shuffling recorded vocal melodies around is as irritating to sing along to as it is predictable. There’s clearly restlessness with the songs after they’ve been recorded, and so the set list was always going to be heavy on the new material. To be honest, those expecting an even balance between the albums need their heads checking, as it’s exactly what you’d expect from a band that seem to carry the attitude that they just get better and better.

There’s a whole cluster of favourites on show tonight, but after seeing Brand New enough times, tonight is a bunch of non-surprises. They play well and sound good, but everything from the backdrop footage that was barely related to the songs in places to the band’s seemingly ‘holier than though’ attitude ends up making it feel a little flat 3/5

Tom Aylott