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Review: Brand New get cathartic at a sold-out Ritz Ybor



For an emotionally charged 90 minutes Thursday night, New York’s Brand New shared its innermost demons with fans at a sold-out Ritz Theatre. And fans shared back.

This wasn’t a rock concert. It was a group therapy session.

A lingering You Won’t Know initiated the first of the evening’s many sing-alongs -- or should I say, sing-alouds. Really loud. When frontman Jesse Lacey sang the opening line, “Hey, hey, hey, Mr. Hangman, go get your rope,” a thousand plus were right there with him, voicing the words for precious life.

Yes, Brand New plays emotional music -- dare I say, “emo.” But it’s not that “why won’t a girl call me back"-type emo. We’re way past that.

On Degausser, the quivery-voice Lacey, 31, described a love so deep it hurt his head. Here, the torments of Nirvana, the manic nature of the Deftones and the mope of Morrissey (all obvious influences on Brand New) showed up. Even the lighting had that Smells Like Teen Spirit video-like brown, dusty hue.

After Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't, full of expertly unstable guitar riffs, and the rousing ’03 breakout Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades, the band returned to older, up-tempo material. There was no real rhyme or reason to the projections that flashed across the backdrop. Cats boxed, waves crashed and ballerinas pranced through bouts of grunge, indie and punk.

Lacey wasn’t one for chit-chat either. He let the songs do the talking. But when he did speak, it was to offer his deepest thanks to the band’s oh-so-devoted following. It came off a bit mumbly – from the school of Dave Matthews concert speak, perhaps – but earnest nonetheless.

The few sound bugs had been worked out before Lacey’s solo Limousine. “I can dish it out, but I can't take it,” he (and fans) screamed. He shed his tan cardigan (which seemed to outlast Bono’s leather jacket from U2’s October show) on confessional highlight Sowing Season. You Stole, off this year’s terrifically disorderly Daisy, was well done, as was liberating hit Jesus Christ.

Feelings were vented. Demons were exorcised. Voices were lost, all for a mere $25.

-- Carole Giambalvo, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:14pm]


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