Looser jeans, less makeup
A road-weary bunch, Bravery bores Baltimore
The Bravery has been toting its only record on tour for about a year now, and it's starting to show. Gone are the days of blue eyeliner and ceiling-high hairdos, and here are the days of under-eye circles and looser pants. Maybe their penile circulation has begun to suffer, or maybe they've been on the road for more days than there are New Order fans. Either way, the love once pulsing from their crotches and shining from the eyeliner-framed windows to their synth-pop souls is now gone.
The mostly underage crowd at Baltimore's Sonar Friday night probably isn't aware of the Bravery's better days. Their enthusiasm superseded the band's and kept now-normal show elements like crowd-surfing and jacket removal intact. The constant pulse of change has beaten its way into every band member, however.
Sam Endicott is the lead singer and best-looking group member. He pioneered the group's trademark spiked, clean-cut version of the mohawk and is typically seen wearing wedgie-making jeans, a chain belt and a tight blue polo. Friday, however, he was in sensible black pants and an average-sized T-shirt. His explanations for why he wrote each of their 15-or-so tracks brought a cringe to the faces of older, wiser fans. For some reason, "This is a song about kicking the world when it gets you down," doesn't quite register with the more life-experienced.
Mike H., the bassist, usually drinks the most, takes his pants off and lets the crowd carry him to at least the middle of the floor. Pictures of him naked at Glastonbury, stoned in Amsterdam and drunk everywhere else have circulated the realm of Bravery fandom. Friday night, however, the stubble on his face and absence of hair gel marked a significant change in this former beer fiend. His pale face begged the audience to stop trying for a peek at his boxer briefs and just leave him alone.
Much different was guitarist Mike Zakarin, who carried a day spa glow. His fresh mustache and crisp, pink collared shirt set him apart from his band mates and his facial expressions made him look as though seeing a tumor of 15-year-olds reaching out to him from the audience was really exciting. Though his zest motivated the teenies to keep bopping, it clashed with the "let's get this over with" attitude of his comrades.
Keyboardist and Macintosh enthusiast John Conway gets to stand in place at the back of the stage and pretend like nobody's watching him, which is actually true. His movement is restricted to fingers and wrists, and while his band mates glow with sweat and bow to the sight of deep-cleaved breasts, he stands as though a breeze is circulating, wearing a peacoat and scarf. And forget about drummer Anthony Burulcich; he successfully hides for the duration of the show.
This live disappointment felt like the end of an era. The Killers haven't put out an album since "Hot Fuss," and the Bravery seem to be headed down the path paved for them by their genre mates. New songs debuted at the show had no catchy synth riff and no sing-along chorus. For now, though, the band has to keep feigning passion for life on the road - they've got two more months of tour dates ahead of them.