Brand New take South Carolina back to 2006 with ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’

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Brand New // Photo by Benjamin Robson

On the night of the 57th presidential election, Brand New headlined their 2016 arena tour in Greenville, SC with openers Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms. Despite what was unfolding at the polls and on the news, the crowd filled up the venue as if it was any ordinary evening, proving that  Brand New’s loyal fan base and cult following is still strong – especially with rumors swirling about the band’s possible demise in 2018.

Photos by Benjamin Robson

The Philadelphia natives, Modern Baseball kicked off the night. Over the groups three albums, they have taken a similar path, slowly gravitating away from the derivative emo genre identifiers and towards more of an indie rock/folk – reflecting lyrically on themes larger than simple relationships and broken hearts. The four piece entered the stage with unusual props such as a mannequin from their latest music video and a ghost made from a white sheet, presumably left over from Halloween. A thick blanket of fog rolled out during their set and enhanced the scene. The majority of Modern Baseball’s setlist stemmed from Holy Ghost, which is their most developed music to date and provided a great buffer to the explosive sounds of tracks off Sports and You’re Gonna Miss it All.

Photos by Benjamin Robson

Since rising to prominence after their self-titled dropped in 2011, The Front Bottoms have become one of New Jersey’s worst-kept secrets, gaining a rabid following, impressing an eager crowd entering second on the bill. The band signed with Fueled By Ramen back in June of this year, which placed them alongside acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Against The Current, in addition to many other notables.

Frontman Brian Sella’s voice sounded amateur in the arena setting, but that’s what made his performance so enticing. It showed that he’s imperfect, just like everyone else. He made interactions with the crowd creating a personal experience and asked, “Hey did everyone go vote today?” which provoked some cheers. The majority of their set derived from their new album, Back on Top.

Another sign The Front Bottoms were onto something is that he audience knew and loudly sang each word to the 11 song set the group offered.

The Front Bottoms played a variety of songs, including “Swimming Pool” and “The Beers,” off their 2011 self-titled album, “Skeletons” and “Au Revoir (Adios)” off their 2013 album Talon of the Hawk, and ended with “Twin Size Mattress” off last year’s Back On Top.

Brand New // Photo by Benjamin Robson

Photo by Benjamin Robson

When Brand New announced their tour back in September, most thought it would be in support of the band’s long-awaited upcoming album, which they have now delayed once again. They instead decided to celebrate their iconic 2006 album, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, by performing it in full at each date of their fall headlining tour. With this announcement came rumors of a potential break up, but such talk subsided for now.

Photos by Benjamin Robson

Their performance was more than captivating — the music spilled onto the crowd and commanded movement from everyone, swaying left and right in unison. In front of five large screens, projecting somewhat random images, Brand New stole the how and proved why they’re the headlines. Their first seven songs stemmed from the band’s three studio albums outside The Devil And God Is Raging Inside Me. The first handful of songs served as an introduction, that fans sung passionately, especially “Soco Amaretto Lime.”

You’re just jealous cause we’re young and in love.

However, this is what made the night such a unique occasion. Brand New separated their motley from the all-encapsulating performance of The Devil And God Is Raging Inside Me. From “Sowing Season” to “Jesus Christ” to “Not The Sun,” Brand New played each and every track. With few breaks, Brand New let the music set the mood and do the talking for them, however paused briefly, allowing vocalist Jesse Lacey to thank the crowd for their support.

Although performances featuring an entire album from front to back are rare and unparalleled, there’s a downside – the crowd knows when the end is near. This was very much the case with Brand New and their dedicated fanbase. Bon Secours Arena knew the show was nearing it’s demise once the band performed ‘Handcuffs” and sorrow began to fill the venue, in emo fashion. However, before signing off, a short rendition of “Untitled” played through which kick-started the quartet’s exit under an illuminated screen that read:

Brand New, 2000-2018 – suggesting the band’s expiration date.

Brand New // Photo by Benjamin Robson

Photo by Benjamin Robson

About author

Benjamin Robson

Benjamin Robson

As a photo journalist with more than 2 months experience, he’s worked with The Charlotte Observer, Alternative Press, Fueled by Ramen, CLTure.org, and himself. Currently attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte obtaining a BS BA in Management Information Systems with a Minor in Religious Studies.

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