Brand New’s album The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is one of the best albums of the 21st century. If you haven’t heard it, you really should make a point to do so. It’s one of those albums that the moment it starts, it captivates you and compels you to start it over as soon as it’s over. The album has some interesting history to it. Not only was it the bands major label debut but, before the album was even released there were 9 songs that were leaked out in demo form. The band was disappointed to hear of the leak; however, they had already been performing new tracks at live shows. Initially leaked without song titles, two of the songs would be re-recorded for the album (“Sowing Season” and “Luca”), with two others being re-recorded and released on singles from the album. These versions are quite different than the what is found on the album. These leaked demos are referred to by fans as Fight Off Your Demons, the batch of leaked demos were remastered and officially released to the public on December 2, 2015. It’s quite a good complimentary release to The Devil and God. It gives you a different perspective on the writing of the album and the mindset. As much as it sucked to have these songs leaked, I do believe it did do the band good in that it pushed them a bit more to keep going and the end result is an absolute masterpiece.
Brand New- Fight Off Your Demons (aka Leaked Demos 2006):
Brand New- The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me:
Back in late 2006, Brand New released the masterpiece that is The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. This album has gone on to not only be acclaimed by fans and press alike but, had also influenced and inspired countless bands. As the press tour began for the album, Brand New was booked on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2007. They performed “Jesus Christ” (which was released as the second single from the album). This performance was subtle and understated but, really does pack quite a gut punch when you really listen to the words and let the music take you away. I’d also like to mention that The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is one of my all time favorite albums and if you haven’t heard it, you are surely missing out.
When you go to a show to see a band that has really influenced you or has left a mark on your life it really has a special place amongst all the other shows. Brand New is one of those bands that has a special place for me. Their album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is one of my favorite albums of all time and is in constant rotation amongst all the music I listen to. So, when the opportunity came to procure tickets to this show, it was a no brainier. Kicking off their set was a brand new song called “Mene.” This was a great high energy song that set the tone for the night. The crowd was in full force once “Millstone” was played. While looking around the crowd during that song, there wasn’t one person who wasn’t singing along. Hell, throughout the entire night there really wasn’t one person that wasn’t singing along to the songs. Other highlights from the set were “You Won’t Know,” “Sic Transit Gloria…Gloria Fades,” “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows,” “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t,” “Degausser,” “Sowing Season” and “Jesus.” Actually the entire setlist was wonderful. The band had so much energy and you could tell they were really enjoying being on stage playing for the sold out crowd. Singer/Guitarist Jesse Lacey, is one hell of a songwriter, as is the rest of the band. His performance of these songs was astonishing, and his vocal delivery live is just wow.
There were two other bands that played the evening. Built To Spill and Desaparecidos were the openers. Both bands were just eh. I would have expected more from Built To Spill. They are talented musicians, but I was expecting a more upbeat performance, not something that was so laid back.
There are a couple things worth mentioning about the venue. The Shrine Expo Hall is a horrible place for a show. There is no acoustic treatment in the place, so the sheer magnitude of volume is just bouncing off the walls. Also it’s right by USC so it’s in the middle of South Central Los Angeles, which isn’t fun at all.
Brand New made it all worth while. I can’t wait for their new album to come out, whenever that might be. They really know how to put on a show and pack one hell of a punch live.
Brand New Setlist:
5. You Won’t Know
6. Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades
7. I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light
8. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
9. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t
10. Mix Tape
11. Untitled 04 (Missing You)
12. At The Bottom
15. Sowing Season
Often times when a band makes the jump from indie label to a major label, there is something in the music that is lost. Perhaps it’s the pressure or the fact that the label itself is trying to make the band something else. That was not the case in 2006 when Brand New released their spectacular album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. This album offered more in the way of contributions from the other members of the band. The title of the album was inspired by a friend of singer/guitarist Jesse Lacey who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This album also contains no filler. Starting off the album is “Sowing Season” which captures a raw emotional feel from the band. There is a definitely a 90’s feel to this song. “Millstone” is a song that continues the same raw emotion and also has very catchy sing a long type of chorus. The second single released was “Jesus Christ” is a mellow and quaint song. “Degausser” is another song that cradles the quiet/loud structure. The vocals on this song are powerful and pure. “Limousine” is nice mid tempo jam that features a very cool guitar solo. “You Won’t Know” is a true highlight of the album. The riff is punching and heavy. The vocal melody is aggressive without losing the melodic nature. “Welcome To Bangkok” is a great middle of the album segue. “Not The Sun” has a bit of a pop vibe to it but doesn’t lose their integrity that Brand New is known for. “Luca” has a similar vibe to The Mars Volta. This song is one of my personal favorites that the band has ever come up with. “The Archers Bows Have Broken” carries a melody that is akin to The Cure, and continues on with a pop vibe but adds an element of shoe gaze and feedback to dirty it up. Closing out the album is “Handcuffs” a very solemn and moody song that sums up the album in a great way.
Brand New are a very underrated band and great songwriters. They have the ability to connect with their personal attributes and storytelling. Musically they took many parts of the 90’s and mixed them with a sort of post hardcore structure. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside me is one of the best albums to come out in the last 10 years.