Brand New / Anathallo / Colour Revolt Club Soda, Montreal QC May 20

In every set there were at least two drum kits and various extra percussion onstage. The effect was a more drama that made it exciting to watch, however, with every band attempting to create epic landscapes, by the end of the night it was just downright exhausting. Colour Revolt, while not terribly original, had a much-appreciated post-hardcore tinge to their solid guitar lines as well as some good stage energy. Unlike other bands that vie for vibraphone-guitar pop, Anathallo delivered an irritating performance. It takes a lot of guts to roll into a town that knows its orchestral pop pretty well and do the equivalent to a dinner theatre re-enactment of Funeral. Over the top instrumentation, affected passion and a ridiculous, cult-ish stage act made Anathallo’s performance almost unbearable. Brand New are able to create moody instrumental rock all the while managing to keep their pop appeal, however buried it may be. Their new material is full of layered melancholy through shoegazer guitars, with elements of dream pop surfacing on the severely underused Rhodes that sat in the back of the stage. A wet dream for the fret board geeks in attendance, but mostly lost on the emo fans that make up the majority of Brand New’s audience. Singer Jesse Lacey's "troubled man with acoustic guitar” act didn’t really fly, as the already restless audience began talking loudly over him, making the packed Club Soda suddenly feel like a open mic night. Constantly changing their styles over their three albums, from pop punk to a balance of emo and rock now into near grunge territory, this felt as if Brand New were bringing us the "Quiet-Loud-Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows.” Their music is less accessible than their previous ventures, but tonight proved more challenging and interesting to a sophisticated ear.