words + photos by dominic cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo)
The Front Bottoms were back in Glasgow, on tour for their latest album: Going Grey. After the unconventionalness of their fourth LP, I was stressing to see what their show would be like – but thankfully they did not disappoint.
Preceding them were a set of solid support acts: psychedelic American outfit Brick + Mortar were the first to get the crowd prepped for the New Jersey rock boys who exploded onto the stage in ecstatic weirdness – and immediately pulled the crowd into their set. The main support for the night was Aussie lo-fi rockers the Smith Street Band – whose chill noises grooved over the crowd, sounding quite like old school Front Bottoms and setting up perfectly for the top billing.
The Front Bottoms, shrouded in shadow, kicked off the night, being met with ravenous applause from the Barrowlands crowd. The band opened with You Used To Say (Holy Fuck) to an explosive response. It really shows the band at their best – turning a song with electro inflections – and from an album that didn’t receive the most positive reviews – into a stripped down, absolutely interstellar opening for their set.
The band hit out with Help and Vacation Town next. These tracks with very little input from the band, turned the audience into a swirling mess of mosh pits and lyrics being thrown up to the band. I think this really speaks to the whole vibe of The Front Bottoms, being able to make songs with such affecting and often dour lyrics so relatable that the audience knows them verbatim.
As the show went on, the band hit some of the older tracks out with the likes of Swimming Pool and Be Nice To Me, among others. The band then finished off their set with Twin Size Mattress. It was these tracks that really showed the real vibe of the band – hitting out with music that they know the fans love. And in saying that, this comfort really lends itself to the band, you can see on stage how happy they are to be there.
After the wee “that’s us done” walk-off, the band were immediately called back for one more tune. Frontman Brian Sella monologued for a bit, talking to the crowd, and about Scotland – before getting right into it with 12 Feet Deep; with which the rest of the band faded back in, transitioning from Sella playing solo to the full band back on stage together. After this the ever fantastic Skeleton was wheeled out, followed by the last track of the night, Oceans. It seems like it gave some sense of narrative to the night as the band had opened with the first track off Going Grey. However it does seem like a kinda funny choice to make for the last track of the night – and even more, for the encore songs. Despite this, it still delivered a great performance for the crowd, showing off really well what the band can do.
The Front Bottoms is a band which easily inspire a sense of chillness as well as a sense of togetherness – encouraging you to rock out to a cracking band in a room full of people that are doing the same. Plain and simple: it’s just pretty cool.