When you walk into a venue as large as the Key Arena of Seattle, typically, fresh flowers is the last scent you expect to find. This was strangely the case at this last Saturday’s Brand New and Modest Mouse concert; second to the last stop of their current North America tour. Daisies, Baby’s Breath, Lily, among many other flower types wrapped their way around the mics of frontman Jesse Lacey and lead guitarist Vincent Accardi. When the set opened, the crowd went absolutely wild, as they opened one of their newest singles titled “Sink” with an intro to the late Nirvana; no other song than “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Playing a wide variety of songs from their 16 years of being a band, popular favorites such as “Ok, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t”, “Jesus Christ”, “Sowing Season” and even “I Am a Nightmare” was incredible to see in such a large scale. Every member seemed well rested, energetic, and undeniably excited, despite this being the end of a 24 stop tour.
The band has sold out concerts throughout the Seattle area, specifically at both the Showbox Market, and Showbox Sodo, but, last year’s Bumbershoot performance, they drew a crowd comparable to Ellie Goulding, Hozier, or even popular favorite The Weeknd. This show on Saturday night was certainly not lacking in bodies, and was just another fine example of how much Brand New means to our ever emo Seattle hearts. Throughout the set, you could see and hear the members taking time to thank the audience, introduce themselves, and even throw out picks and drumsticks, yet nothing excited the fans as much as when flowers from the stands were thrown into the crowd for keeps. I later ran into an old high school friend, who had captured a daisy from Jesse Lacey’s hands, whom was still speechless about her trophy. Of all my times seeing Brand New, this must to have been my favorite; for /brand New is like fine wine; and only performs better with age.
There has been much speculation surrounding the future of the band, as earlier this year there were confirmations by lead singer of the disbandment; apparently dated for 2018. These speculations were further solidified with t-shirt designs reading “Brand New 2000-2018”; a design that now canvases their backdrop following their set. Hopeful for another album release, as well as another opportunity to see them perform, Seattle will always welcome Brand New; fingers crossed for sooner than later.
When Modest Muse stepped onto the stage, setting up, plugging in, and checking most of their own gear, some fans seemed to be confused at the thought of musicians of such a popular scale, setting up and tuning their own gear. This may be abnormal for most, but Modest Mouse has stuck to their roots in that sense. I truly wonder how many people whom hadn’t seen the band before, were wondering if it was the band, or their crew, the first time they stepped onto the stage. For most of us Washington natives, we know Modest Mouse, and represent them as friends, family, and even school alumni, as the band was originally formed in Issaquah, Washington, gaining their first taste of popularity from local stations 107.7 the End, and KEXP. This current tour is in support of their most recent, sixth album release “Strangers to Ourselves” which debuted last year in March. They have had much success from album single “Lampshades on Fire” coming in at number 12 on the Billboard top 100, as well as number 1 on various Billboard rock charts; including Today’s Alternative, and Today’s Rock, charts that have a very competitive ranking in today’s music world.
With a sound described similar to The Pixies, met with Franz Ferdinand, the band holds a multi genre standard, a indie rock feel, sometimes displaying the rage of a punk ska band upon stage. Set up with trumpets, violins, and dual drum sets, the stage still seemed to be a perfect fit, while the band continued their 16 song standard set, followed by an amazing 5 song encore, including fan favorites “King Rat” and “Ocean Breathes Salty”. Lead singer Isaac Brock truly displayed his sense of humor as he poked fun of his home state’s legalization of marijuana, sports teams and Summer Solstice Parade’ another event that shut down dozens of busy Seattle streets just before Key Arena’s doors opened that evening. He went as far as to reminisce about time spent at the venue with his step father, and even of how the band in full had dreams about playing a venue this large, let alone selling it out. Hopefully this show exceeded their expectations, as it truly did mine. I look forward to seeing them next time around, especially with their promise of playing their hit song “Float On” the next time they visit, as it was their one single missing from their incredible setlist.