Originally published in Qmunicate Magazine, Feb 2016.
The positive effect of The Front Bottoms’ signing to Fueled By Ramen in 2015 was made evident when tonight’s show at the Garage sold out well in advance, and the electricity moving through the crowd even before support Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band takes the stage is indisputable. Kevin, a musical veteran when considered alongside tonight’s headliners, brings his own brand of introspective folk rock to bassier levels in his full-band getup; a far cry from his regular solo performances, he bounces across the stage at any given chance throughout a set which is met with a more enthusiastic (though not undeserved) reception than one would necessarily expect from a crowd which seems largely unfamiliar with his material. The vocals are a little low in the mix tonight, which is a shame – though it seems likely that a few of tonight’s attendees will return home to discover for themselves that Kevin really shines lyrically.
As Glasgow welcomes New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms to the stage like heroes, an inflatable ‘TFB’ is haphazardly pushed up behind the drum riser in a manner fittingly unpretentious and fun for a band whose charm lies in the deliberately thrown-together feel laced through their songs. The band pauses in place before beginning their set in a way that suggests they know what they are about to unleash, and sure enough one opening note of older track ‘Flashlight’ is enough to ignite something wild in tonight’s venue. What follows is nearly an hour and a half of pure delight, stream-of-consciousness indie rock at a pace that barely gives the crowd time to rest as they dance and sweat and live out any cliché you can think of which embodies a gig which is just downright fun. As performers TFB are tight, delivering a sound with more body and punch than their recorded efforts. It’s a rare feeling at a show, and something that is the mark of a special one, when there’s an overwhelming sense that the band is the favourite of every single person in attendance – and as the audience’s volume overpowers frontman Brian Sella on almost every word, that certainly seems the case tonight.