Photo of Braid courtesy of the Pabst
Braid is regarded alongside the likes of American Football and Milwaukee’s own The Promise Ring as seminal midwestern bands responsible for ushering in emo’s second wave in the late '90s. Though the band split in 1999 and formed other noted acts, including Hey Mercedes, The Firebird Band and The City On Film (among numerous other), the cast recognized that Braid was something special, based on the decision to reunite last year, a dozen years since disbanding.
Last year, Braid came to Turner Hall to play its 600th show. Friday, almost a year ago to the day, Braid returned — this time, to play its most influential work, Frame and Canvas, in order and in its entirety.
Following a great (though under-attended) opening set by Cut Teeth, and poppy pandering of Diamond Youth and a rare full band set of Into It. Over It, Braid took the stage, backed with a loop of the familiar feedback of great opening track “The New Nathan Detroits.” Following the Frame-work, they launched right into favorite “Killing A Camera,” which — like the majority of the songs to follow — was played to near-perfection, compared to the album versions.
After sixth song, “Milwaukee Skyrocket,” guitarist Chris Broach (known for backing vocals that range from “yeah” to “YEAH!”) jokingly explained his affinity for agreement as a sort of homage to Michael Bolton. In all, the Braid seemed to have fun and keep the mood light, a possible byproduct of the generous estimate of 200 people being in attendance, or maybe just the enjoyment of playing rarely touched songs again.
The show reached an expected peak with a rousing rendition of otherwise-subtle song “A Dozen Roses,” which found front man Bob Nanna jumping and Braid’s set tighter than ever in the evening. Following the sway of the album to a T, the five songs to follow were slower, more downtrodden and less beloved than it’s A Side counterparts. But Nanna kept it light, asking the piecework crowd between songs whether anyone owned the album legally, and referencing last year’s yet-to-be-delivered promise for a 24-song double LP.
As Frame and Canvas’ closer “I Keep A Diary” echoed through the almost empty ballroom, the band briefly stepped away, only to return for a four-song encore that included two brand new songs and a pair of elder statesmen of Braid’s catalog, capped off by “The Chandelier Swing” from 1996’s The Age of Octeen.
Though the turnout wasn’t a reflection of the band’s formative footprint on a genre and its immeasurable influence on the musicscape, the fortunate few in attendance (not counting the middle-aged man thrown out for throwing a drink at Nanna) enjoyed an evening of nostalgia and a rare reprise of songs from a record that will always be playing somewhere.