Brand New, Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine – St. Augustine Amphitheater

By: David Wexler
7 May 2015


2007 was the last time Brand New, Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine did a full tour together and unfortunately,  I did not have the pleasure of seeing any of those shows.  Back in 2007 I was a fan of Brand New and I knew of Manchester Orchestra, I did not know Kevin at all. It’s May 7, 2015, and I have seen each of them NUMEROUS times, Kevin Devine has even played a show at my apartment.
The triple threat bill was playing at the St. Augustine Amphitheater in St. Augustine Florida.  It was a beautiful coastal sunny spring day, the ideal weather for an outdoor show.


KDFLIt was an early 6:30pm start as Brooklyn’s own Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band took the stage with the sun still strong in the sky.  The current lineup for the GDB for this show was Ben Homola on drums & Andy Prince on bass with Kevin playing guitar and singing.  Ben is the drummer for Bad Books and the drum tech for Brand New, Andy is the bassist for Bad Books & Manchester Orchestra. Kevin keeps it all in the family.


“Cotton Crush” opened up Kevin’s set which is an older song that’s for both the die-hards and the casual fan.  People were still coming into the amphitheater as the show started but there was already a decent crowd to see the GDB rip through a ferocious 8 song set.  Kevin plays with such intensity it seems at times he might rip his guitar in half, Ben hits his drums as if he wants to destroy them.


I could see there were some fans there who knew all of Kevin’s songs, a majority of what he played was from his most recent heavier album Bubblegum. The final song of the set was “Brother’s Blood” which is arguably his most popular song.  Everyone was entranced by the 7+ minutes that Kevin poured his sweat, voice & soul out for Brother’s, he politely thanked everyone for listening and made his way off stage.

After a quick 15 minute set break, Manchester Orchestra , the 5-piece outfit from Atlanta Georgia introduced themselves by kicking off with one of their heaviest songs, “Pride” from 2009’s Mean Everything To Nothing.  This set the tone for a short but crushingly heavy 45 minute set hitting on some of their gut-busters like “Top Notch”, “Cope” and “Shake It Out”.  Frontman Andy Hull took some time to speak about how happy it made him to be playing shows with his good friends Kevin and Brand New.  BN took Manchester out on their first national US tour.


Manchester is coming off a huge year, 2014 saw them release COPE as well as the stripped down companion album HOPE both of which included a heavy touring schedule.  One of the top moments in their set was the eponymous song “Pensacola”  where the crowd had their moment to belt out “Alcohol Dirty Malls Pensacola Florida Bars!”.  Being in Florida gave that song a special meaning everyone there.


Although it was a shorter set than I expected, Manchester did what they do best, power through a strong and energetic set that touched on all the years off their career.  It left everyone partially deaf and ready for the main event, Brand New.


The Sun was down and the tension was thick in the air as the lights went out at 8:30.  The crowd was mind-numbingly loud as Jesse Lacey, Brian Lane, Garrett Tierney & Vinny Accardi took the stage thanked everyone for coming and kicked it off.  They opened with the brand-new Brand New song “Mene,” which was released only a few weeks ago.  “Mene” is a quick 2.5 minute ripper highlighted by Brian Lane’s frantic drum fills & Jesse’s repeating lyrics “We don’t feel anything”, in fact you can’t help but feel everything from the song.


Brand New likes to play a setlist that spans their catalog in reverse chronological order and tonight was no different.  The next two songs “Sink” & “Gasoline” are from Daisy, an album that doesn’t resonate with all of their fans but this crowd seemed to dig it.  Jesse was in a mood to scream early and often as they hit the crowd with “Millstone” & “You Won’t Know” from The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me completely flooring everyone in the place.  Then came the Deja Entendu songs.


The first notes of “Sic Transit Gloria…” hit, the crowd went bananas and followed through with the loudest chorus sing-a-long of “Die young and save yourself!” I have ever heard.  Further provoking the crowd, up next came “Okay I Believe You…” the crowd didn’t give the band a chance to second guess and sung every word, proving the lyric “I hope this song starts a craze” very true.


BNFLSurprisingly the first song of the night from Your Favorite Weapon was “Mix Tape” which was a pleasant surprise.  The crowd calmed down a bit when the setlist went back to Daisy for 2 songs and then the rare Devil & God B-side “Brothers” was a cue for the casual fan to hit the bathroom or grab another beverage.  Jesse didn’t say much throughout the night but when he did talk he had a mostly attentive crowd aside from the random girl/guy yelling out “JESSE!” as if he din’t know his own name.  Jesse explained that it was very relaxing to play with all of his close friends and they could have easily set up chairs on the stage and just sat there all night, but they had a job to do.  Damn straight!


As they hit the final stretch it was all Devil & God with the 4 song power-punch of “Sowing Season”, “Luca”, “Degausser” & “Jesus”.  This was the loudest point of the night, blistering double drums from Lane & Homola, the lighting on the stage matching the quiet to deafeningly loud moments of the first 3 songs.  It’s what Brand New does best, suckers you in to a false sense of calmness and then blasts you with an assault of sound, similar to a Nine Inch Nails show, mixing it with great lights & images on a back screen.


For the full band finale of the night it was the calming and beautifully written “Jesus” which probably had some of the younger crowd crying.  The band left the stage, which initially took some fans towards the exits but they quickly they returned as Jesse came out by himself.  He thanked the crowd once again and began playing the first notes to “Soco Amaretto Lime” the last track on Your Favorite Weapon.  The crowd sang every word with Jesse clearly marking the highlight of the night. The song harkens back to the earliest days of the band, a song written by a young Jesse Lacey that fits in with everyone at some point in their adolescence.


The night ended with the crowd singing “You’re just jealous ’cause we’re young and in love”, some of the crowd singing with their tongues down each others throats.  This capped off a perfect Florida evening with 3 bands that have been friends for close to a decade and they all fit perfectly with one another.  As for Brand New, they are on the verge of releasing their 5th album in 14 years and it seems like they are just getting bigger and bigger as their fanbase grows tighter.  It was a night of energetic and often blisteringly loud music, but that’s rock and roll, ain’t it?


Brand New Setlist
You Won’t Know
Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t
The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Mix Tape
At The Bottom
You Stole
Sowing Season
Soco Amaretto Lime