There’s nothing standing in the way of The Front Bottoms’ meteoric rise to the mainstream, the tongue in cheek title of their latest record ‘Back on Top’ makes a quick nod to this following a record deal with Fueled By Ramen (who put out a few records by a relatively underground band called Paramore). Following the album’s release, the band has stormed their way through the states on tour and also appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Opening up the night is singer-songwriter veteran Kevin Devine. Backed by The Goddamn Band and an arsenal of 8 records, Devine focuses mostly on cuts from his most recent visceral effort ‘Bubblegum’, giving the songs one last final outing before his ninth record comes out later this year.
Devine’s unassuming energy is unmatched, better known as a timid singer-songwriter. He showcases a completely new side of him on the uptempo ‘Bubblegum’ as well as ‘Magic Magnet’ from his split single collaboration with Cymbals Eating Guitars.
It’s ‘Redbird’ where the band really give the audience an emotional sucker punch. Joined by Mat Uychich from The Front Bottoms on additional percussion, it’s reminiscent of seeing Brand New and when it builds to the song’s slow burning climax, it sounds almost apocalyptic with the sound bouncing off the rafters of Rescue Rooms.
Stepping onstage to the theme from Titanic with balloons spelling out ‘TFB’ waving in the background, The Front Bottoms are met with an overwhelming amount of cheers and suddenly the entire room pushes towards the front of the crowd. Myself included.
Although ‘Back On Top’ came out late last year, it’s infectious melodies have already resonated with the crowd, which is evident as soon as the band open up with ‘Laugh Til I Cry’. The breakdown of the song turns into a mess of spilled beer and sweat with people grabbing onto each other’s clothes to stay upright on the slippery floors.
However, that is only the calm before the storm as older material sends the crowd into hysterics. ‘Skeleton’ in particular, a stoner anthem about being too tall to fall asleep in the front seat, has members of the audience clambering on top of each other and there’s the first appearance of a crowd surfer. Surely nowhere near the last track of the night as members of the crowd begin to start raining down over our heads.
One particularly unexpected highlight was the inclusion of rapper GDP on the song ‘Historic Cemetery’. Currently acting as the band’s videographer on this tour, GDP graced the stage to feature on the song’s closing rap.
After a few downed beers, strained vocal cords and popped bubbles later, it’s come to the very end of the night. The band close out on their most epic moment ‘Twin Sized Mattress’ with the audience screaming every lyric back to them as they crowd surf toward the front, keeping security on their toes for one last energetic moment.
Photos by Dan Hess.