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Brand New And The Glory Of Fandom At The Mann Center

By Michael Cerio 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In every corner of music there are examples of fandom that outpace output and soar to religious-like levels.

An avid appreciation for a singer or band can become more than just "listening to music," weaving itself into personal definition.

It's a pledged devotion with a collection of the like-minded, bound together by a singular soundtrack. It goes much deeper than going to a concert, or scouring the internet for news, or even the album art tattoos and tour t-shirts. For those lucky enough to love music that much, it's in the fabric of who we are.

In an era of 140 characters and Twitter squads, there's plenty of Beliebers and #Selenators that act the part. Pop music is perfect because it's now, but rarely does it have the same lasting dedication for something like this.

That real level of love of music has been front and center though in Philadelphia over the past week.

On Tuesday it was our ongoing obsession with The Beatles, shared via Paul McCartney for a sold-out show at Citizens Bank Park. On Thursday, after decades away, Guns N' Roses fans were rewarded and justified for their loyalty with a blowout at Lincoln Financial Field.

For many of the fans that were lucky enough to be in attendance at either show, it was more than just a concert. It was a celebration of their music and how important they are to a life well-lived with music.

Those are easy ones to talk about because of their massive size, but what went down Saturday night at The Mann Center in Philadelphia was equally impressive.

Brand New and Modest Mouse played their own sold-out show deep in Fairmount Park this weekend.

There are not many fan bases more rabid and intense than that of Brand New, the Long Island rock group that launched fifteen years ago and has evolved into a mysterious force.

Their shows sell out in seconds along the East Coast, and The Mann Center was no different. It was packed with people sporting t-shirts and tattoos to celebrate the band as they screamed along to every line during their hour and a half set.

Infrequent drips of information and new music have become a hallmark of Brand New, so fans seem to soak up everything when they can. Plus, news that they might be breaking up in 2018 have taken their shows to essential status for all in attendance.

It's a group of fans that spans from sleeveless jocks to those skinny and bespectacled, but most all seemed to love the band on a level eleven. It made this spot in the woods of Fairmount seem electric

Cast in shadows with a backdrop of blinding lights, singer Jesse Lacey poured himself into songs and led the crowd in humble fashion.

"Hope you had a good night, we're Brand New," might have been his most boastful banter of the evening.

The show was opened by Modest Mouse, in what was a co-headlining set but seemed to be a hurried performance lacking some standard expected songs. A spastic Issac Brock sang out strong from the crowded smoke-hazed stage, but everything ended a bit abruptly and unfulfilled.

Perhaps that felt the sheer anticipation of this crowd gathered to see Brand New.

Brand New were heavy and powerful this evening, able to match the intensity of their fans with two drummers, shredding guitars, and the emotion wrung out on stage from the voice of Lacey. Honesty and humility fosters this kind of fan appreciation, but the equation isn't complete without a killer show. All were accounted for on Saturday night.

As the fuzz of the guitars subsided, a sign reading Brand New 2000 – 2018 flashed across the backdrop, cementing further the rumors of their end. However, it will likely only feed this amazing group of enthusiasts.

Whether it's Pearl Jam or McCartney or Springsteen or Axl Rose, whenever you can get lost in music and become a part of something bigger than just you – you should.

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