The Front Bottoms: Inspiration in live act


Four dudes from New Jersey singing songs about getting stoned, girls that broke their hearts, hanging out and various angst that comes from living life. It doesn’t sound like anything special, right? And yet, seeing them in concert was one of the most magical experiences that one could ever hope for. On this past Wednesday, Nov. 4, the band played to a sold out crowd in support of their third full length album, “Back on Top.” The first band, though I wasn’t at the venue yet, was Elvis Depressedly, and from everyone I talked to, they exceeded expectations. They certainly didn’t have a shortage of material, having released four full-length albums and three extended play’s in the past four years. Their lo-fi indie sound is great to simply relax and chill to, and was definitely warmly welcomed by the crowd so that they could save their energy for The Front Bottoms.

The second band on the bill was The Smith Street Band, who definitely traveled the furthest out of anyone at the concert. Hailing from Australia, they play a type of raw, alternative punk music. Similar to bands like Bomb! The Music Industry and Hard Girls that are punk but pull from many genres, the band put all the passion they possibly could have into their 45-minute set. Singer Will Wagner seemed attached to his guitar and worked magic with his hardened vocals and musicianship. The best part of their set, though, was seeing the positive reaction that the band garnered from the crowd. The mostly full room was very enthusiastic and hooted and hollered after every song. I sure hope that it made the trip halfway around the world worth it.

These two acts were simply leading up to the main event though, and nothing could prepare the crowd for what happened when The Front Bottoms took the stage. The temperature in the room suddenly seemed to rise 20 degrees as everyone clustered in as close as possible to the stage. As a germaphobe, I tend to avoid these dense crowds, but when the band broke into “Skeleton,” my mind told me no, but my body said yes. I joined the ranks of the fans jumping up and down fanatically in the front of the crowd, and I screamed along with every word. “There’s no way the crowd can keep this up for the next 80 minutes” I thought, and boy was I wrong. It only kicked up in intensity as the show went on.

Not only do The Front Bottoms sound as good as they do in their recorded music, they up the ante tenfold. In songs such as “Au Revoir,” “Laugh Till I Cry” and “The Beers,” singer Brian Sella poured his heart out into every song and had the crowd wrapped around his finger. During “Au Revoir,” he took an extended pause, taking a sip of water and jokingly asking the crowd what the lyrics were to the second verse. Overenthusiastically, they responded “Adios” and the band then jumped back into the song without missing a step.

Moments like these were plentiful during the show, as the band and crowd slowly morphed into one. During “Historic Cemeteries,” the crowd rapped the outro usually performed by rapper GDP, and then GDP came out and killed his part with a cheek-to-cheek smirk on his face the whole time. This surprise was unexpected, and just brought the crowd’s intensity up even a little bit further, which didn’t seem possible.

The show wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful without the energy of the crowd, but the band had this energy matched and were obviously even more integral to making the show as memorable as it was. Everything that took place over the 80 minutes – the stage banter, the crowd surfing, the screaming along of every word and the dancing of the crowd – all simply led up to the final song of the night, “Twin Size Mattress.”

Off of their second album, “Talon of the Hawk,” this song was instantly given status as the only way that the band could properly end a show. With lyrics such as “This is for the lions living in the wiry broke down frames of my friends bodies” and “She hopes I’m cursed forever, live on a twin size mattress,” there is simply no way that I can word it that would do justice to the moment that took place during this song. All I can say is that it was five minutes of pure bliss, and that it was one of the most incredible moments of any concerts I have been at. If you don’t yet, you need The Front Bottoms in your life in some form as soon as possible.

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