28th November | O2 Academy
The Front Bottoms have dressed their stage like a living room or a basement; there’s carpets and lamps, a sofa and a small television playing a VHS of Scream. It’s comforting and reminiscent of the teenage years spent hanging out with your pals and playing Nirvana covers.
Frontman Brian Sella shuffles onto stage without shoes, as the rest of the band take a swig from their tinnies, stretching their arms and crooking their necks before taking their designated spots. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Sella performs with a relaxed confidence; not in the sense that he’s done this all before but that he feels comfortable in his surroundings – in this case, adoring teenage fans who sing every syllable right back at him.
The Front Bottoms are a band that bring everyone together. Approachable and wholly relatable in their art, the audience scream at the top of their lungs in the first few notes of every song. Cuts from latest album Back on Top such as ‘HELP’ and ‘Cough it Out’ get as much as a reception as well-loved numbers such as ‘Flashlight’, ‘Peach’ or ‘Skeleton’. It’s proof of a band that are able to evolve in their songwriting but keep to the core of what makes them connect so deeply with their listener.
The last part of the show turns into a request round, making tonight’s performance feel like a ever-more intimate. Fans shout for their favourite and a few are picked up, much to this crowd’s delight. In-between the “last song” and the encore, bassist Tom Warren performs a short story reading; something that’s become part of each The Front Bottoms shows and something that adds more depth to their pop punk surface. Finishing with ‘Maps’, it’s a poignant reminder of just how far this four piece from New Jersey have come.
“There is a map in my room, on the wall of my room, I’ve got big, big plans” Sella sings. Tonight, it seems like those plans have become reality.
Check out The Front Bottoms’ latest video ‘Ginger’ below.