On Wednesday night New Jersey band The Front Bottoms returned to Nottingham to play a sold out gig at Rescue Rooms to a very excited and lively crowd.
Support from Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band who have been touring with TFB for several years, successfully hyped up the crowd with an energetic performance, including the addition of TFB drummer Mat Uychich during one of their songs. They also told stories from their time on the road with TFB, describing the band as their ‘family’ – with front man Brian Sella being the worst one.
The set opened with the incongruous playing of the titanic theme ‘my heart will go on’ followed by the inflation of the letters T F B, leaving the whole crowd in suspense waiting for the emergence of the band. When they finally appeared, the quartet kick-started the crowd with popular song ‘Laugh Till I Cry’, from their new album Back On Top, which had the entire crowd singing along and jumping about non-stop.
This was very much the reaction to every song the band played, the audience were hooked on this band, hanging off every word being sung to the point that Sella was able to create a very tense atmosphere during ‘Au revior (Adios)’ as he strung out a long pause before entering the second verse which had the crowd chanting and singing until they could join back in.
The band had excellent interaction with the audience as they reflected on previous visits to Nottingham, joking about guitarist Ciaran O’Donnell having lost his virginity in this wonderful city. As well as discussing the alter ego Brian Sella created which was born and died in Nottingham and ‘Maps’ from the self-titled album was based upon.
In addition to this, TFB listened to heckling from the audience, in particular the starts of the drinking challenge chant “we like to drink with Brian cos’ Brian is our mate”, after which Sella downed his beer in 8 seconds, on two occasions. They also took a detour from the set list, playing a fan- requested song from their self-titled album, ‘Swimming pool’ which featured a bubble machine – perhaps very apt for the style of funny lyrics the band try to create, despite an underlying somewhat darker meaning.
Throughout the set the band was joined on stage by rapper GDP for ‘Historic Cemetery’ which surprised the crowd as they continued to sing along. Kevin Devine from the support act joined the stage for an iconic rendition of ‘The Beers’, which saw an immense reaction from the audience including moshing and crowd surfing, a common reaction for the duration of the gig.
The gig came to a sorry end with an emotional rendition of perhaps best known song ‘Twin Size Mattress’ which Sella dedicated to anyone who has helped a friend. It was a moment in the night that I never wanted to end, the entire crowd was packed uncomfortably close to one another as they all sang along to lyrics that had a different meaning to every individual, however at this point the music made the experience strangely comfortable and intimate.
The Front Bottoms gig at Rescue rooms was one of the most energetic, entertaining and quirky I’ve been to and I would jump at the chance to go again. While they round off the end of their ‘Back on Tour’ tour around Europe, the band will soon be embarking upon another tour across America in spring, during which I have no doubt they will become even more popular, so keep your eyes open for another European tour – a night with this indie-rock band is one I guarantee you wouldn’t want to miss!