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Live Review: Brand New, Glassjaw & Thrice - Wembley Arena, London - 23/1/2010

For some a line-up made up of these 3 bands tonight, is one that is from a dream, or one that is very rarely seen on these shores. However dreams do come true; for some, as Brand New, Thrice and Glassjaw, collectively play their biggest UK shows to date.

Though the worry of a arena-based sound being a potential hazard, Thrice quickly showed that the band's Alternative rock suited the setting, with 'Of Dust and Nations' kicking off the half-hour set, which set the tone for the evening. Tracks from the bands latest effort, 'Beggars' 'All The World Is Mad', 'In Exile' and 'Beggars') shining through, along with fan favourite 'The Artist In The Ambulance', that defined the bands ability to fit an arena setting. In addition the absence of guitarist Teppei Teranishi, did not effect the bands strong performance, as Nate Patterson filled in brilliantly with Dustin Kensrue's vocals not being intimidated by such a big venue and rising above and beyond, for an overall great performance.

Next was Glassjaw, although musically impressive and backed up by erratic performance that screamed out for attention, something did not seem right. Perhaps the bands loose set did not fit the mood of the night? Perhaps its Daryl Palumbo's flaky screams and growls, that at times did not seem coherent with the bands tight post-hardcore sound. Although Palumbo's vocals were faultless. For those who like Glassjaw, seeing the Long Island four-piece play songs such as 'El Mark', 'Ape Dos Mil' and 'Siberian Kiss', was perfect but for those who are unfamiliar, or like me, don't understand the bands cult-like status, are left slightly bewildered.

Despite tonight being Brand New's biggest UK show ever, the band do not bother with having a fancy arena-size back drop or pyro. Just as Brand New do what they do best, they let the music talk and leave it to be admired throughout the 90 minute set. Kicking off with 'Welcome to Bangkok' and going into 'Sink', the band quickly prove these songs can fit well into this type of venue. As the set comfortably takes some of the best bits of their last 3 albums, with previous singles 'Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades' and 'The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows', along with the opener from latest album, 'Vices' being highlights.

Although 'Limousine' and 'You Stole' lowered the tone and to an extent, lost the bands momentum, the intense atmosphere was eerie yet captivating. Thankfully 'The Archers Bows are Broken' and 'Sowing Season (Yeah)' bring the show back to life, just in time for a superb conclusion, that saw the crowd at fever pitch and singing back every word. The conclusion saw the band bringing out 'Jude Law and a Semester Abroad', a rarity for the band, along with another 'Your Favourite Weapon' track, 'Seventy Times Seven', that pleased the crowd thoroughly. 'Play Crack The Sky' sombrely yet brilliantly, bring the nights events to ahead with just frontman Jesse Lacey being backed up on vocals by Vinnie Accardi, with a track that capped off another milestone in the bands career.

An overall faultless set, that despite the bands non-mainstream status, proved anything is possible and can be done, as Brand New's minimalist stage approach; except a few odd black and white videos, allowed the band and fans to appreciate this band and how far they have come.

Sean Reid

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