In January of this year, Modest Mouse and Brand New announced a U.S. co-headlining tour, with both bands promising full sets and no opening acts. Tickets for the Chicago show in a venue with a 30k cap had sold out long before the date of the show came around—if that’s any indication of how huge this tour was going to be. On the day of, hundreds if not thousands had lined up hours before doors to get good spots in the pit or to grab a few beers and take their seats in one of the many seated sections of the venue.
A few thousand had flooded in by 7:30pm when Brand New began their set. Brand New has an insane cult following, which was awesome to see as 90 percent of the people in the pit were singing along throughout the 15-song set. They’re one of my favorite bands, too, so getting to experience a moment like this with people who love them just as much was pretty great. They opened with “Sink,” followed by “Gasoline,” “Millstone,” “You Stole,” and “Sic Transit Gloria.” While beginning “I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light,” frontman Jesse Lacey stopped and said they’d messed up the beginning of that song two nights in a row, and played a Weezer cover until everything was figured out and they were able to play the song. Since the band doesn’t talk much while performing, it was a nice little moment where everyone got to laugh for a second before the intensity started up again.
They then played a few more songs off of Deja Entendu, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, and Daisy before closing with their newest single, “I Am A Nightmare,” and “You Won’t Know,” off The Devil and God. A bittersweet feeling took over for me halfway through the set, however, as I realized this may be one of the last times that anyone gets to see Brand New perform live—which was only exacerbated by the screens at the end of their set which read “Brand New 2000-2018.” Overall, the live performance (and the production/visuals) was incredible, as usual. If this is one of the last times I ever get to see Brand New, it was definitely something I will remember.
Modest Mouse began their set around 9:30pm, opening with “A Different City” followed by “Bury Me With It” and “Perfect Disguise.” The mood was noticeably different; the crowd was much more upbeat, with many in the front row having grins on their faces while singing along. The lighting was much more colorful, too. The band played songs off of Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Strangers to Ourselves, The Moon & Antarctica, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, and more, totaling a 19-song set. After reading the set lists from other nights, they change it up a lot, which is cool to see because the set is never predictable and they always have everyone on their toes. Modest Mouse ended their performance with “Doin’ the Cockroach,” “Black Cadillacs,” and “The World at Large.” I’d never seen them live before, but they were really impressive and had a lot going on performance and production-wise that was really fun to watch.