Brand New & Modest Mouse
(No Opening Act)
The Greek Theater
July 28, 2016
To say that Modest Mouse and Brand New's co-headlining tour was one of the best shows of the summer would be an understatement. This was one of the best shows of the entire year, and the UC Berkeley Greek Theater crowd made sure that the surrounding tenants of the city would know this.
Upon arrival, we were told that there would be no opening act. This was a rather interesting change of the usual concert model, and I was game for it. I was photographing the show that evening, so I made sure to be there about an hour early so that I got in on time. The photo pit at The Greek Theater is also exceptionally high up, so I wanted to make sure I planned out some of my shots prior to the show in order to assure quality photos.
Modest Mouse played a set that was far from what I expected. Yes, it was very good, but that's not what I'm referring to. It was a set (much like the tour) that was not catered to singles and radio hits, and the song "Float On" was not performed. Now I'm not complaining; I actually really enjoyed their set and found humor in each of the band member's little back and forths with the crowd in between songs. They're a band that knows how to put on a show. I was just impressed by the fact that it was clearly not a show catering to a singles, "hits" driven crowd.
Brand New went onstage by the time the sun was completely down. From that moment forward, chaos ensued. It didn't even matter if it was a slow song; there was always a good chance there would be a crowd surfer. The band has a cult-like status among fans, and it's so fascinating to watch. They're a band that I can only classify as alternative, because each album they've put out over their sixteen year career thus far is completely different from the previous.
Before their set started, the photographers were warned that we would be pushed forward and have to get our shots in a quicker amount of time. Magically, we were able to wander around in the pit because the more intense songs didn't begin until after song four. HUZZAH! This was good news. It was definitely a harder shoot because of that stage, but the lighting after song one was gorgeous and really captured the intensity of a Brand New show.
I hurried back to my seat to catch the rest of the set, where I had a full birds-eye view of the outdoor amphitheater. There was one song in particular, and I can't remember which song it was (it's driving me crazy) but it was performed about halfway through their set. My jaw dropped as I suddenly saw twelve bodies airborne and crowdsurfing all at once to the front of the venue. There was a moment in this song where Lacey has vocals that he screams back. The entire crowd, from the lawn to the GA pit, screamed the words back. It's one of the only moments in the past few years that a show has given me chills.
The show ended around 10:30 PM, due to the sound ordinance surrounding the venue (a reason why the shows here start earlier than usual, generally!) but it was one that has remained in the minds of fans to this day. I know several people who attended this show. Some were long time fans of each band, some just wanted to go because they heard it would be a good show. Several days later, we're still all talking about it.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.