When I was 12 and first grabbed hold of Deja Entendu, the 2nd album by the rockin’ New York based band Brand New, I thought I was cool. Despite the fact that none of the lyrics on the album could really apply to any past or present situation in my life, I knew it was good (hence the reason why I was so cool, I just knew). As I got into high school, and that album started to become a repeat on my iPod, I began to obsess over the bands lead vocalist, lyricist, and guitarist – Mr. Jesse Lacey.

Five* years later, my obsession is still Jesse and all things Jesse. It was torture waiting 3 years for Brand New’s follow up album to Deja – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2006). Although, in early 2006, fortunately enough but probably unfortunate for them, demos that were supposedly for the album leaked on the internet. I was ecstatic due to the fact that most of the demos were solely Jesse, his beautiful words, singing voice, and guitar.

Once Devil and God was released, Brand New began touring with musician and fellow New Yorker, Kevin Devine. Since then, Jesse and Kevin have become very close, and began going on short solo acoustic tours together on the East Coast. I was bummed. I felt jipped. A dedicated fan for five years, and Jesse won’t come to my neck of the woods? Well, all that changed when they announced another solo acoustic tour for July 2008, here on the West Coast.

Slowly but surely, July 21 rolled around and Jesse finally made it to L.A. Doors opened around 7, the place packed out. I didn’t really dig the venue; the stage was too low to the ground, and the too weirdly shaped, but also mostly because I’m small and that doesn’t really make anything easier at a show.

The show began with a guy I’d never heard before – Brian Bonz. He seemed just really excited to be ‘allowed’ to play with Kevin and Jesse, which was sweet.  Kevin came on and made the crowd giggle with his witty jokes between songs. And finally, what I had been waiting for; my sweet, sweet Mr. Jesse Lacey came on without saying a word, and began strumming and singing his first song. It happened to be one of the untitled leaked demos, which was actually unofficially named by fans, “Found a Good Man”.

Between each song, I began to feel what Jesse was actually feeling as he played these songs. I could tell he put his all out there on that stage. Between songs he would express how much he appreciated us all for being respectful, and supporting him and the two other musicians on tour with him, as well as the fans of Brand New that have supported them through everything. He talked lovingly of his band mates, “they’re like my brothers and stuff”, Jesse says, then glanced to Kevin saying, “I’ve got the best friend’s anybody could have.”

Throughout most of Jesse’s set, Kevin and others (Vinnie Accardi of Brand New, Kevin’s fellow band mates Brian Bonz & Mike Strandberg) would often pop up on stage to play with him, which I thought was entertaining and really sweet of Jesse to be so inviting. He also spoke with great admiration for the bands Neutral Milk Hotel and Modest Mouse; he covers their songs as often as he can.

He ended his set with “Aloc-Ococ”, a b-side from Devil and God Raging Inside Me. He described the song beforehand as, “a song I felt I finally got right. Not right for everyone, just right for me.” Which I thought was a sweet intro to playing this lyrically and musically beautiful song. 

The show was so intimate, and that’s what I appreciated. Jesse was so calm, and caring about all of us enjoying his show and so appreciative of being on that stage. I wish most musicians were as sweet hearted as this man. 

Download the b-side “Coco-cola” or “Aloc-Ococ” as it is also referred to

right here !!

If you're curious... Jesse’s Set List

1. Untitled #01 “Found a Good Man”

2. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot

3. Trailer Trash (Modest Mouse Cover)

4. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad

5. Luca (w/ Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz, & Mike Strandberg)

6. Play Crack the Sky (w/ Kevin Devine & Vinnie Accardi – Brand New)

7. Moshi Moshi

8. Two Headed Boy (Neutral Milk Hotel Cover)

9. Jesus Christ (w/ Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz & Mike Strandberg)

10. Cotton Crush (w/ Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz & Mike Strandberg)

11. Soco Amaretto Lime

12. Degausser

13. Coca-Cola

- Maritza