Monday, November 9, 2009

Concert Review: Brand New and Thrice at The Ritz Ybor (with pics)

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 11:38 AM

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boasts a capacity of 1,150 for its concert hall. I would call that a conservative estimate for Brand New (frontman Jesse Lacey pictured right) and Thrice as I politely pushed through the throng of mostly teenage girls clogging the stairways leading to the pit. All the "Excuse Me's" I could muster made no difference when I bumped a girl's flip-flopped foot and received a flat, condescending "Ow" in reply. Here's a novel idea -- don't wear flip-flops to rock concerts and don't stop in the middle of a stairway to watch a band. Unless you'll permit the rest of us to pee on you instead of pushing through to the facilities.

Following a false start, Thrice (pictured right, all photos by Mike Wilson) hit the stage around eight and overcame some early technical problems to deliver a ten-song set of competent, mostly mid-tempo post-rock with intermittent lite-hardcore breakdowns. Guitarist Teppei Teranishi's backup vocals created some pleasant harmonies with frontman Dustin Kensrue's otherwise bland leads. Thrice didn't perform as if very excited, and aside from a pinch of hardcore fans singing every word they elicited little more than head-bobbing from the crowd. It took a cover of "Helter Skelter" -- a song that pre-dates the birth of every bandmember and most of the audience -- to finally evoke some movement. "Silhouette" off their major label debut, The Artist In The Ambulance, received the best fan reaction, and enough people caught onto the "We are beggars, all" chant from their new LP's title-track as Thrice finally forged a connection before ending their set. I heard more than a few Thrice supporters object the lack of 'hits.'

Thankfully, Brand New (pictured below) left little room for similar complaints. (Setlists for both bands after the jump!)

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Eight of the 19 songs from Brand New's set came from their best album, 2006's The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. They hit the stage as a sometimes six-piece (three guitars, bass, drums, and an extra percussionist who would come and go), treating "Welcome To Bangkok" as an instrumental warm-up before stomping out Daisy deep-cut "Sink." New album or not, single or not, everyone knew the words and started jumping and screaming along almost instantly. Three guitarists meant the riffs and melodies would sound somewhat muddled, but Brand New was otherwise well-mixed at the Ritz. Despite his distinctive style, frontman Jesse Lacey's voice was not the strongest in a live setting. Similar to Thrice earlier, it was the backup vocals (in this case, those of guitarist Vincent Accardi) that provided a certain boost.

Jesse tried to slow things down with numbers like "Degausser" and a mostly solo-electric "Limousine" from Devil And God... His attempts at pathos fell pretty flat, though -- not due to any failed execution, but because the audience screamed every goddamn word. Emo boys and girls shouting lyrics in each others' faces is just not romantic.

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Jesse asked the crowd if anyone was following them around the state given the strange tour schedule -- the Tampa show sandwiched between two Orlando dates -- and promised a little something different for the night. A four-song stretch early on showcased Brand New's early poppier material. Two songs each from the band's first two albums followed -- including fan favorites "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades" and "Jude Law And A Semester Abroad," each marked by the evening's largest, most turbulent pits and loudest sing-alongs. Brand New jumped between the newer, more melodic and complex material and the older, pedantic pop-punk with ease, and managed to deftly showcase their evolution over the past decade.


All The World Is Mad

The Weight

Of Dust And Nations

A Song For Milly Michaelson

Talking Through Glass

The Arsonist

Helter Skelter [Beatles cover]

In Exile


Bang Bang [tease] / Beggars

Brand New

Welcome To Bangkok [instrumental]


You Won't Know


Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't

Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades

Jude Law And A Semester Abroad

Seventy Times 7

Limousine (MS Rebridge)



Sowing Season (Yeah)

You Stole


The Archers Bows Have Broken


Bought A Bride

At The Bottom

Play Crack The Sky

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