By Katelyn Thome
On the night of October 26, 2014, at Jannus Landing in downtown St. Petersburg, hundreds of paths crossed for one sole purpose. The alternative rock band Brand New was back in the Tampa Bay area, headlining a show for the first time since 2009. The size of the Jannus Landing venue allowed for an intimate show for what could have been Brand New’s last Florida performance.
Tickets for the concert sold out two and a half hours after going on sale in early May. Longtime fan from Clearwater, Alison Carr said, “When I heard Brand New had a St. Pete tour date, I set an alarm in my phone for the minute the tickets went on sale.”
Since the year 2000, Brand New has gained a cult following for their front man Jesse Lacey’s way with words and the entire band’s way with music. They have been lumped into the alternative rock genre and labeled emo, yet their poetic style has set them apart from the multitude of bands that formed around the same time. They are not much of a touring band ,and they seldom travel further south than Georgia.
Their first album Your Favorite Weapon was released in 2001. The album had a theme of Lacey’s failed romantic relationship with a girl and the betrayal by a best friend (the front man of the band Taking Back Sunday). Their album Deja Entendu was released in 2003, and fans noticed a more mature version of Brand New. Jesse Lacey’s lyrics became more smoothly executed and the instrumentals became heavier sounding. During their hour and a half live show at Jannus Landing, they played six songs off the two albums.
After the release of the albums Devil and God are Raging Inside Me in 2006, and Daisy in 2009 it was apparent that Brand New was something different than a pop-punk band singing songs about broken hearts. They have become a story-telling band with thought provoking lyrics about life and what comes after. Their instruments have gone from mainstream to something closer to metal music. “They’re The Rolling Stones of our generation,” said Ben Primosh, a devotee of Brand New.
With a routine of three years between each album release and a scarce amount of tour dates, fans expected something to come out in 2012. Their loyal enthusiasts were pained when there was no sign of new material and no tour dates were announced. Over a year passed and there was no current news on the band until May 2014, when Brand New began releasing tour dates for the upcoming fall. “I’ve been excited for this for almost half a year!” said Primosh, while waiting outside of Jannus Landing, in line for his ticket to see the show.
Brand New has only traveled to Florida a handful of times before that fateful night on October 26, 2014. The band went on and nailed every song without the need to address the audience with a single spoken word, except for announcing the night’s last song. It is possible that the rare St. Pete sighting may also have been the last. To use some of Brand New’s lyrics, they’re the type of band “That makes people glad to be where they are. With whoever they’re there with.”