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Day one: Brand New roadtrip 2009 – Manchester

It’s monsoon season in Manchester. Or that’s how it would seem two hours before the gig. But that’s never going to put anyone off – we’re an overly enthusiastic bunch and we’ve travelled for miles to get here. And some us may have had the security of a car.

Louise, Kam and I pick up Jen and head for the venue, dumping the car in a car park and finding the rest of the crew in The Oxford – over the road from the venue. There’s a veritable medley of people from BNUKST board – from Liverpool, Newcastle, Stoke, Birmingham, Scotland to America and Sweden. It’s a good chance to meet fellow boardies and grab dinner.

Moneen are on first, surprisingly. They play an incredibly enthusiastic set but it’s easy to see that most of the audience have no idea who they are. Hopefully this will have earned them some new fans – they certainly deserved it from tonight’s performance. A new album is out in September and they showcased a new song ‘believe’, whose upbeat lyrics contained the idea of believing in your own way –
which seems at odds with Brand New’s dower “die young save yourself”.

Fan favourite Kevin Devine and his Goddam Band were up next and my did they rock. Opening with the required Cotton Crush, a good range of old and new material was played, including several songs from Brothers Blood – released in the UK on 20th July. Having seen Kevin Devine with and without a backing band, with band the songs definitely had more power behind them. But it’ll be nice to see a more stripped down version either on Thursday at the Retrobar or failing that in July when he supports Manchester Orchestra.

Brand New take the stage promptly at 9.30 and announce that they intend to play straight through to 11pm, without any nonsense. Which always seems a shame as a good amount of onstage banter can make a gig. But this is Brand New and it’s now almost expected.

They open with Shower Scene and it’s good to hear they’re playing stuff from Your Favourite Weapon. In fact the show seems portioned off into older stuff like Sic Transit Gloria, Quiet Things, Okay I believe you but my tommy gun don’t, Jaws Theme Swimming and No Seatbelt Song as well as newer stuff from The Devil and God and two newer, as yet unreleased, songs. But a new album it’s on it’s way –
finally! People seem divided on whether this portioning is a good move; to me it works, but I think they’ve done it well, grouping similar sounding stuff and tempos together.

It’s been two years since they last toured and everyone seemed glad to see them, hear old favourites and new tracks in anticipation from the new album. It was a good gig but the audience didn’t seem as engrossed as I’d have expected. Hopefully the crowds at the other gigs will be better.

Post-gig we’re all sweaty and in need of a drink. So off to Mc Donalds and back to the hotel. Where we’re asked if we enjoyed Take That – who were also playing in Manchester tonight. That was quickly put right and up to the rooms. Off to Glasgow tomorrow!

Quote of the day from Kam about Louise’s sat nav “it’s the kind of noise your toaster would make if it was melting”

*This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*

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