Live Review: Brand New, Saves The Day and The Front Bottoms – O2 Academy, Leeds – 14/04/2014

Walking into the O2 in Leeds, and finding a huge crowd pay attention to the sweet whimsy of The Front Bottoms, is simply quite heart warming. The New Jersey quartet boldly takes on the challenge in playing to a huge crowd, and they succeed quite well. Their dancey, catchy indie punk acoustics in hits like ‘Au Revoir (Adios)’ and ‘Maps’ spark a smile here and there, even if it’s not perfect. Yet, it’s a solid set, especially during the latter song when words are bounced back from the audience to the band. (3.5/5)

Up next, legendary emo/pop punk veterans, Saves the Day, take on the swelled up room. Whilst the set isn’t necessarily bad, it isn’t good either. Strengths include the moments where they have a degree of bite to their punk prowess. Also, songs like ‘Shoulder to the Wheel’ and ‘At Your Funeral’ give a sweet nostalgic feel in the air. Yet, that’s all there is to it. Maybe it’s my personal tastes or time hasn’t been kind to them, but Saves the Day sound pretty dated and cringe worthy in my honest opinion. There are some in the audience who’re enjoying their set, so perhaps it’s something I’m missing. Like I said, Saves the Day tonight aren’t good or bad, just border-line average. (2.5/5)

Patience is a virtue they say, so this crowd have definitely been rewarded by the time Brand New assault their senses from the word ‘go’. Opening with ‘The Shower Scene’ and ‘Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades’, these legends seem to be drunk in a nihilistic angst. Tonight Brand New are as viciously melancholic as their humanity allows them to be. ‘Gasoline’ bites in all the right places of noise, whilst softer moments including ‘Mixtape’ and ‘The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot’ are delicately handed in aplomb. Yet, the highlight overall goes to the relationship between the crowd and the audience. Both entities vocally reach out to each other; favourites such as ‘The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows’ and ‘Jesus’ are a clear, concise snapshot of this. One part of the set which evokes a mixed reaction is the filthy extended instrumentals the band unfurls on certain songs. For instance, final song ‘You Won’t Know’ displays a magnificent tenacity, whilst at the same time provoking boredom to stand by the corner. Regardless, Brand New leave a lasting magnificent performance, which is a testament to their legacy, and more importantly, why everyone in this room gives a damn! (4.5/5)

4.5/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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