Brand New photo by Kenneth Bachor

Brand New at UC Berkeley Greek Theater

Brand New and Modest Mouse shut down UC Berkeley’s Greek Theater. While it may have been labeled a “co-headlining” tour, on this night, Modest Mouse played second fiddle—no pun intended—to one of the most electric Brand New performances the Bay Area has ever seen.

Modest Mouse took the stage first and played a little over an hour of unintelligible loud noises as the sun set on the audience. Performing nothing (that this reviewer could tell) from their critically acclaimed Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004), the band swapped instruments often, hitting just about everything else from their widely diverse catalog. Frontman Isaac Brock delivered his campy southern shout-y vocals well, but they were mostly lost within a muddied soundscape of instrument noise and poor mixing. Listeners were often distracted by Brock’s awkward guitar sounds: consisting of mostly dead notes and out of place guitar licks. Kudos for the group performing “Shit Luck,” one of the tracks that put Modest Mouse into the late ‘90s underground indie scene.

After a quick set change, Brand New’s frontman Jesse Lacey took the stage, with his usual Cobain-like guitar posture and face hidden beneath an Oakland A’s ball cap. He wasted no time, beginning with “Sealed To Me,” a song never officially released in studio format. As the final chord rang out, the rest of Brand New quickly bled out to the stage to perform “Vices” from their 2009 (and most recently official LP) Daisy. 

The next 90 minutes included songs from Deja Entendu (including two drummers), Devil & God…, Daisy and even their newest single, “I Am A Nightmare.” It was a bit odd, however, that the band didn’t play a single track from their debut record Your Favorite Weapon—perhaps because “I Am A Nightmare” holds many similarities to that 2001 debut?

As is tradition at Brand New shows, the crowd sang along to every word of every song; almost like a fraternity for emotional release through whoa’s and screams…Being that this was my sixth or seventh Brand New show, I can no doubt say this was the freshest and strongest Lacey’s voice has ever been. For those who haven’t witnessed, you better get on it, because as the band left the stage, a sign illuminated “BRAND NEW 2000 - 2018.”

Text by Andy Mesecher
Photos by Kenneth Bachor

**Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.