Brand New give emo a new name at the House of Blues

Andrew Gaug

New York emo band Brand New is known for writing very personal songs about death, loss and heartbreak. But, unlike some emo bands just cashing on the trend, they truly meant the words they were saying at an apparently emotional concert at the House of Blues in Cleveland on Sunday.

Starting off with their latest single, “Sowing Season (Yeah),” lead singer Jesse Lacey strolled around the stage with his guitar as he and guitarist Vinnie Accardi screamed out “Yeah!” repeatedly with the audience.

The band, currently touring behind their darkest album to date, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, mirrored the dark content they sang about. Fans cheered when favorites such as “Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades” and “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” were played, but kept quiet during more obscure tracks off of Devil such as “Millstone,” as Lacey was only echoed by the crowd during his yelps and screams of “Whoa-o-o.”

Very little banter was left to be had between songs, leaving awkward silence as the band tuned up. Occasionally Lacey would introduce songs such as Deja Entendu‘s “Play Crack the Sky” where he said “This is a song about where we grew in up in Long Island, where there’s lots of boats.” Outside of that, it looked like the band had been through an incredibly emotional time.

Suspicions of the band staying restrained bottled up until the final song before the encore, “You Won’t Know,” where Lacey sang about dying without being able to say goodbye. As he repeated the final chorus, his gravel-like voice, which seemed raw from screaming, continued to sing the title of the song while he picked up a stage light and appeared to have almost flung in into the crowd before kneeling down in pain.

Although this all sounds like a depressing concert, and it was, it was also a surprisingly real representation of the band’s music. While other bands play songs about serious topics with a wink and a smile, Brand New never lets up on the fact that they take what they sing about very seriously and, for better or worse, it showed in Lacey’s broken performance.

After the band closed with “Degausser,” Lacey got on a amplifier and flew back into drummer Brian Lane’s drum set. Silhouettes of the band could be seen getting up, but there was no “Good night, Cleveland!” or “Thank you.” The lights went down and came back up with no band on stage, leaving the crowd with just their thoughts of what they had just seen.

Contact ALL assistant editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].