Brand New @ Metro, Melbourne (31/01/2008)

“I finished this song three days ago… I’m playing a new song to a thousand people. It’s fu—ed!” Donnie Dureau has always been the most modest and down-to-earth artist in our local music community. And that’s just his way. He’s thoughtful in performance and generous in creative output. It’s no doubt that his audience is always in debt to him. Donnie’s acoustic commentary of daily life captures the true essence of a matured, intuitive songwriter who walks the streets of Collingwood and laments the irony of constantly being woken by a crying baby, only to be laughed at by that same baby when he locks himself out of his apartment.

Donnie looked somewhat overwhelmed by the huge stage he was perched upon but his audience made him feel at home. Donnie is a shameless musician who is comfortable in his own skin and railed through a set of sharp observations. Donnie even treated his oldest and most dedicated fans by offering the Blueline Medic anthem –  “Making The Nouveau Riche’ and –  “Photocopied’ from his underground Caustic Soda days. Donnie is obviously a defining necessity in Australian music.

God damn, time takes its damn time. The insert to Brand New’s album The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me could not have said it better. Brand New graced our shores last year and fans, naturally, yearned for their return not long after. Some might think that this is a greedy mentality, but it’s a mentality that is understandable considering what Brand New promise in a live setting.

Admirers of Jesse Lacey chorused his every move and lyric during a four-track acoustic starter – a stunning treat for the band’s deeply loyal fanbase here in Melbourne. It was a prelude that underlined Jesse’s vulnerability as a melancholic songwriter of sociological shortcomings and a respected musician in his own right. Yet, it was only when the rest of his band-mates joined him on stage, launching into the oscillating strengths of –  “Luca’, that the audience received even more of an elevated sense that the band is an empowering calculation, conjured from multi-dimensional tact and execution.

Another credit to Brand New’s undying talents was the band’s thoughtfully crafted setlist for their Melbourne sideshow. A stunning, almost seamless, tapestry of Deja Entendu and The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me was interwoven by massive stage dynamics (add or minus a drumkit or two here, add or minus strings there). The plummeting depths of these two albums were faultlessly delivered and the audience was left astounded by the band’s atmospheric strengths. Episodes including –  “Me vs Maradona vs Elvis’, –  “Sowing Season’ and –  “Jesus’ gripped punters in a sea of rich string-work, while pulsating drumlicks for –  “Not The Sun’ and –  “Sic Transit Gloria’ prevailed as Jesse serenaded his followers with pained screams for –  “You Won’t Know’.

The climax of the evening was thus left to –  “Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t’, a dedication to Bjork and her “Icelandic minions”. Jesse’s sarcasm lingered in the air, escalated by such lyrics as “we are the best at what we do” and “keeping quiet is hard”. It was a funny moment when fans were hinted at Jesse’s little dig though it was a realisation that Brand New are, in fact, a “break in the bend” of normality and repetition. Brand New can, and do, ignite airwaves and headspace so it was inevitable that after this performance Brand New will remain the apple in the eye of many Melbourne fans for time to come.

Check out the photos from this show here courtesy of schache.