...these guys are ready to wallow in the hype...
The showbiz entrance is long overdue a comeback. Tonight it looks like The Bravery – currently the hottest band in New York – are determined to resurrect it. As the group take to the stage one by one, squinting into the intense lights as teenage girls faint melodramatically into the arms of their cheering boyfriends, they begin to play the opening bars of their hit single. But where’s the singer? As the screams rise, a dark and sexy shadow appears at the side of the stage. Then, just at the precise moment it could all derail, Sam Endicott steps casually onstage, his collar upturned, tilting the mic stand towards his lithe body. He smirks: now the show can begin.
Yes, during tonight’s sold-out gig, many rock clichés will be exhumed. As well as their frontman’s poor timekeeping skills, The Bravery boast sweaty hair-metal guitar solos and onstage beer showers. The band themselves even dress as representatives of all this decade’s major rock trends: Sam is a punk-rock Moz, with greasy quiff and leather wristbands, guitarist Michael Zakarin is the requisite mop-topped Strokealike and bassist Mike H is an industrial goth in violent eye make-up and military wear. Any New York hipster worth their chequered vintage Vans is here tonight, eager to see if this band is worth the local frenzy they’ve inspired.
The Bravery play ten songs including their encore, but they make the most of their limited repertoire by pouring themselves into each track. Already available singles such as the hauntingly desperate ‘Honest Mistake’ and the relentlessly catchy ‘Unconditional’ are obvious crowd faves, but the audience also seems curiously familiar with the unreleased songs too, causing Endicott to gleefully admonish them: “So many of you are downloading this shit illegally! You know the words! You shouldn’t know the words!”
A major part of The Bravery’s charm is that they talk and act like they’ve deserved to be huge since their first rehearsal, and the audience responds to this confidence and old-fashioned egoism with an uncommon level of adulation.
The Bravery phenomenon has clearly become gloriously out of control – but unlike New York rock bands of the recent past, who shrink sceptically from adoration, these guys are ready to wallow in the hype. And they know that they deserve it.