Nobody moves. The cavernous Aragon Ballroom in Chicago is a pitch black void and inside, 5,000 Brand New fans hardly breathe as a large metal fence descends from the rafters. Out of the shadows, six figures wander out onto the elevated stage to the thrill of their mesmerized acolytes. A low, instrumental rumble cuts through the expectant silence, followed by singer Jesse Lacey’s unmistakable croon: “It’s where you live, but you don’t know how it’s built.”
Even as the audience sings along, pouring all they have into every word of the first song of the show, “Lit Me Up,” they remain absolutely still. You can’t even see the band from behind the massive wall of steel and flaming LED lights, but hardly anyone shifts this way or that to get a better look. We stand as one, totally transfixed by the words and the foreboding music. It’s actually incredible. All of us have fallen deep under Brand New’s spell. All of us are yearning to open our hearts and say goodbye.
Brand New have made several allusions over the past few years that they have no intention in carrying on past 2018. Every show, every action they take could be their last, and those who’ve followed them since the beginning, back around the turn of this century, are sharing in their last act with an almost defiant sense of celebration. If you’re holding onto a ticket to their current tour expecting to partake in a funeral, you’ll almost certainly leave disappointed. Brand New seem more intent on giving their devoted following the intense, and triumphant wake that they deserve.