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Brand New, Glassjaw And Thrice: Wembley Arena

Chris Shipman
Chris Shipman 25 January 2010 at 18.58

A live review of Brand New's hotly anticipated show at London's Wembley Arena.

With its colossal and imposing size, Wembley Arena often struggles in matching the intoxicating atmosphere offered in abundance by smaller venues, but not so tonight. As an early contender for the most anticipated gig of the year among the faithful, tickets for tonight’s show were snapped up in an instant – selling online for incredulous sums of money.

Thrice [8] start proceedings with the twinkling delayed melody that opens ‘Of Dust And Nations’ bouncing around the cavernous sprawl of the arena, before the quartet fill the void with 30 minutes of sonic delight. With guitarist / keyboardist Teppei Teranishi regrettably at home due to a recent family bereavement, the set is absent of their most ambient and experimental offerings. Instead the band offer choice cuts from their most recent release, ‘Beggars’ and their breakthrough ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ showing that even when not at full strength, Thrice are one of alternative music’s premier acts.

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Fresh from tearing up infinitely smaller venues around the UK on an all too rare foray across the Atlantic, the imminent arrival of seminal alt-hardcore act Glassjaw [7] raises the excitement level even further. Although an engaging and enthralling frontman of the highest calibre, the wiry frame of Daryl Palumbo does seem slightly lost in the concrete sprawl as he wails and screams his way through material drawn primarily from the sublime ‘Worship And Tribute’. With Justin Beck ringing out gorgeous effect-garbled riffs, sweaty bodies go flying with scant regard for the no-crowd-surfing signage around the walls. Although the band showcase a solid set, Rock Sound can’t help but think that Glassjaw fit smaller club-sized venues far more snugly.

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Looking around, you can’t help but congratulate Brand New [9] and how far they’ve come. With a decade in the spotlight, the New York band have come on leaps and bounds from their debut 01 release ‘Your Favourite Weapon’. From pop-punk also-rans to experimental alt-rock titans, it’s been a long and winding road.

Frontman Jesse Lacey, bathed in ambient lighting and backed by a moody film backdrop, rips through impassioned renditions of material from the band’s two most recent albums after easing the audience in through the more accessible material from ‘Deja Entendu’. ‘Jesus Christ’ is a particular highlight with the audience taking great collective delight in screaming back the line “We’ve all got wood and nails / we turn out hate in factories” to a teeth-clenched and impassioned Lacey.

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Towards the end, Brand New throw in two of their oldest offerings, including the bittersweet ‘Seventy Times 7’ before ending with ‘Play Crack The Sky’. With no encore, for the 10,000 strong crowd it’s a fitting end to a fantastic night featuring three of the past decade’s premier acts.

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