I had a love-hate relationship with Brand New in college. I knew their music was good and I actually really liked them; it’s just, every time I’d listen to them, I’d find myself in a dark place, led by a path paved by brooding and angry tones that Brand New had so skillfully mastered. I seriously had to control how much I listened to them. Because of that, I never really learned too much about the members or even what they looked like. If that’s not a testament to how powerful their music is, then I don’t know what is.
These days, I’m in better and stronger moods. My relationship with Brand New’s music has grown to be all love. When I found out they would be performing in my hometown, San Jose, on Halloween, I knew I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to meet their music face-to-face.
I was extra excited that Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms were opening the show. They both played incredible and fun sets, and it was cool seeing familiar faces of the San Francisco pop punk scene in the South Bay.
Brand New blew me away, though. First, I loved that the entire band and crew were dressed as Waldo, even though it got confusing to track who was whom at times. Second, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and “Play Crack The Sky” at the beginning of their set, because I was expecting to dive right into The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, as the tour celebrated the album’s tenth anniversary.
They resumed playing the album back to front. I constantly got goosebumps from the band’s intense energy — even from the back of the arena. Seriously. All the breakdowns and the angst-ridden lyrics were so gracefully executed. I wasn’t expecting anything less, but to finally experience everything live almost felt surreal.
Roughly four years after their music entered my life, I finally got to demystify Brand New. I feel like I’ve grown with a lot of bands, but the way I’ve grown with this one is unlike any other. I left the concert that night with my heart full.
Photos and thoughts by Rianna Chloe Catajan.