SITUATED at Academy Two, right beside The University of Manchester, The Front Bottoms took centre stage to perform to their ‘biggest crowd yet’ stated New Jersey born lead singer, Brian Sella, on the opening night of their tour, following the latest album ‘Back on Top’. Charlotte Sumner was there for us…

For those who don’t know, ‘Back on Top’ is their first record under the Fueled by Ramen label, who’re popular for signing acts like Panic! at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots.

Fans varied from young teens and university students, to 40-year-old men and women, who were all as patient as possible waiting for the main act of the night.

But whilst the folk punk band were backstage, getting hyped up to play at their sold out show, with a crowd up to 900 fans, support act Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band came on to play a number of songs.

Devine is popular for his introspective, politically motivated lyrics and indie genre, which was clearly reinforced on stage. Throughout the set, his energy remained focused and strong, belting lyrics infused with passion and enthusiasm. Although, at times his mic often screeched (a technical difficulty which cannot be helped) thus, made parts of the crowd pay less attention. Nevertheless, Devine remained professional, stayed attentive, and gave the audience some good songs to boogie to.

Finally, the moment everyone had been anticipating, The Front Bottoms. A huge inflatable popped up on stage with the initials ‘TFB’; ‘TFB!’ was perpetually chanted, followed by stomped foots throughout the night by fans. Sella even made a little tune on his guitar to the chanting, “That was a good jam!” he laughed.

Academy two that night had a vibe like no other; it’s almost inexplicable to describe the love, passion and admiration fans showed towards the band. Fist pumps, swaying, mosh pits, throwing around blown up condoms, hugging, and even crying all took place in the crowd.

The Front Bottoms 2

Opening up with ‘The Plan (F*** jobs)’ from The Front Bottoms latest album ‘Back on Top’, fans sung  every lyric back that was thrown by Sella’s quirky, raw voice, which makes TFB so unique and special.

One attribute of the band in particular which really stood out, was their use of repetition to drive the point home with simple lyrics, advocating a poignant meaning. “I am delusional with love” is a lyrical example of repetitiveness highlighted in the single ‘Cough it Out’.

It was evident that the band were overwhelmed with the turnout, and especially with their fans knowing all the lyrics to their songs, as Sella mentions they’re only used to playing to smaller crowds.

Mountain’ also went down a treat with the crowd. Sella commented ‘this song is about buying drugs’ and humorously swapped lyrics in the chorus to ‘I bought weed in Manchester’, which catalysed a colossal magnitude of applauds and cheers.

Lyrically, TFB’s music flows like poetry, the words strung together present this art in an honest and rare formation. Certain songs performed that night, especially ‘Maps’ from their self-titled album, were bone-chilling, and provoked waves of nostalgia and melancholy.

Of course, The Front Bottoms couldn’t say goodbye without providing the buzzing crowd with a highly demanded encore, which was practically screamed at the top of their lungs. The response received to the band coming back on stage was phenomenal, and TFB seemed to be more than grateful to perform an extra two songs “Twelve Feet Deep” and the deeply loved “Twin Sized Mattress”.

The Front Bottoms 3

Overall, Sella’s partially goofy lyrics are evidently somewhat personal, and treasured by fans, who showed great devotion, by singing back every single word; they encouraged and cheered non-stop during the night to show their ultimate love and support.

The Front Bottoms are a band who never stop giving, and seem to be on an ongoing path, leading them to many great things. Undoubtedly, they will gain more recognition in the upcoming months, which they truly deserve.

By: Charlotte Sumner

All pictures by Bethany Halfpenny 

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