Tours celebrating the 10-year anniversaries of albums are all the rage these days, and Brand New's current trek in honor of The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is doing just that.
While 2003's Deja Entendu might be better remembered from the mid-2000s commercial emo explosion, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me was the darker, deeper follow-up record no one saw coming. By not following expectations, Brand New created their landmark LP, one that truly stands the test of time. The idea for this tour -- which stopped Sunday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul -- is to test that notion by playing The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me in its entirety.
Brand New opened with their newest single, “I Am A Nightmare,” and then moved into four songs from Deja Entendu. As the eras shifted, so did the mood in the venue. And that's the beauty of The Devil And God are Raging Inside Me -- the songs make more sense as a whole, and hearing them back-to-back transports you.
There’s a haunting dynamic captured on that record that especially comes through via the power of their live show. From the eeriness of “Jesus Christ” to the desperate aggression of “You Won’t Know," Brand New does not allow you to catch up to your emotions between songs. Instead, you're left with a strangely comforting sense of insecurity as ones surges into the next.
Frontman Jesse Lacey’s voice seemed strained for the first five or so songs. If it weren’t for the signature flowers on the band’s microphones, you might think was a Social Distortion show. His vocals were scratched, and almost painful to hear when he first broke into “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows." By the time they tore into The Devil And God are Raging Inside Me, he had relaxed a bit, though it also helps that those songs require less screaming.
No one seemed to care or even notice much, perhaps because the Roy is an ear-drum-bleeding venue. It's no Twin Cities concertgoing secret: The sound in that place is downright awful. Or maybe it’s because Brand New could stand upon any stage and hum any emotional melody, and their fanbase would gobble it up, forever loyal and crying.
Mystique and rumors follow the band, who recently stated in a press release, “What’s left should be a strange demise, but hopefully one as loud and fun as the rest of our time together has been. All are invited. Please send flowers.”
It's hard not to wonder if this is the last time we'll see Brand New, even though we're in the midst of an emo resurgence. Based on the power they summoned Sunday, it might be a good idea for them to stick around and see this one through.
Notes on the openers: The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball, both leaders of the new-emo movement, are almost certainly inspired by The Devil And God.
Critic's bias: Jesse Lacey was wearing a The Crow T-shirt. Yes, the movie. I couldn’t be more in love.
The crowd: Exactly, to-a-T, what you would expect at from a '00-era, emo-rock band: Mostly misunderstood 20-somethings in black T-shirts and arm tattoos, and the occasional 30-40 year old married couple reliving some kind of teenage angst. Also, the flock of folks crying in the lobby of Roy Wilkins after the show. Because emo.
Overheard in the crowd: Crowd seemed pretty focused, aside from the one guy who wouldn’t stop yelling “Tatou!” -- Deja Entendu’s intro song.
Random notebook dump: Brand New is the emo band for people who don’t want to admit listening to emo.
I Am A Nightmare
The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
Play Crack The Sky
Sowing Season (Yeah)
You Won't Know
Welcome To Bangkok
Not The Sun
The Archers Bows Have Broken