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Brand New / Bogart's / Cinncinnati, Ohio / September 13, 2013

By Garrett Bower

A Brand New concert is a lot like Fight Club. Outside the show, fans could be anyone, blending into everyday life, but at the show, they are a horde of screaming mouths and bodies teeming with vicious enthusiasm. While the Marla Singers of the world (i.e. “fans” who impatiently bitch about the opening act and give no credit to any members of Brand New save Jesse Lacey) attempt to tear down these true fans’ enthusiasm, the fact is that the energy of the collective is simply unstoppable.

At Bogart’s in Cincinnati on Friday, these diehards came out in droves for the sold-out show; some making the journey from states away. Their reward was an unforgettable and energetic show thanks to both the bands themselves and the other equally elated fans.

Opening up for the enigmatic alt-rock behemoth was the 8-piece ambient rock group--deep breath--The World is a Beautiful place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. The group came out with force, demonstrating expert instrumentation, conjuring engulfing walls of sound that filled the modest venue.

After The World Is finished their brisk set, the crowd restlessly awaited the appearance of Brand New, some swapping stories of past experiences and others discussing the lengths they went to in order to ensure their ticket--scalper prices were reported in the $150-$200 range for tickets that originally sold for $40.

As lead singer Jesse Lacey took to the darkened stage, the crowd became frenzied, surging as far forward as possible, packed shoulder-to-shoulder without a free centimeter to be found. Calmly, Jesse eased into “Tautou,” the soft introductory track to the band’s 10-year-old sophomore album, Deja Entendu, as the rest of the band filed onstage in the hazy light. As the whole band led into angsty fan favorite “Sic Transit Gloria,” the crowd exploded into utter chaos, lost in the music. From here, Lacey and company went on to play through the entirety ofDeja Entendu as well as come back out to play a great selection fromThe Devil and God are Raging Inside Me and their most recent LP Daisy.

At the end of the night, after a face-melting two-hour set, Jesse Lacey--a man infamous for not being one for stage banter--genuinely and profusely thanked the fans for their adamant and unrelenting support. As the exhausted concert-goers filed out, riding on the high that is being a part of live music, the feeling in the air was nothing but communal. Suddenly, it didn’t matter who you were outside of that show because, while you were there, you were a fan of Brand New and you had just seen one of the best goddamn shows of your life. And for a time, it was enough just to talk and laugh with the perfect strangers who had been there with you.

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