The Front Bottoms: Emotional and Euphoric

By: Hallam Bullock

frontbottomsThe indie-pop-punk band from New Jersey have blown up in the last few years. Since posting their homemade music video for their song Maps on YouTube in 2010, the once musical duo are now a four-piece band cramming British pop-punk fans into venues across the UK.

On December 3rd I had the pleasure to be part of the excited crowd fighting their way into the O2 Forum in Kentish town. The venue itself is a British bastion of rock music, playing host to an array of huge names such as The Killers, Jack White and KISS since it opened its doors as a live music venue in 1980.

I turned up just in time to pay the extortionate price for a pint and make my way into the crowd in anticipation for the Gnarwolves to take to the stage. It’s fair to say The Front Bottoms fans who were previously unaware of the supporting act had a nasty/pleasant surprise (depending on your opinion of mosh pits) as the Brighton-based band came out to Bone Yard, kick starting a violent pit of carnivorous Gnarwolves fans. Before leaving the stage, the band stirred up a crowd of applause by criticizing the venues ridiculous drinks prices, resulting in some awkward and sheepish looking bar staff.

After allowing around half an hour for the smoke to clear and after giving the Gnarwolves fans (and anyone caught in their crossfire of moshing) enough time to recover, The Front Bottoms casually sauntered onto the stage branding huge grins. The band performed hits primarily from their Back on Top and Talon of the Hawk albums with the same humour as the band’s name would suggest. The band possesses a humble stage presence that is a rarity among popular musicians. Watching them is more like observing four friends mess about with instruments in their parent’s garage, never once failing to lose the same giddy grins they walked on with.

Their performance was an excellent balance between hysteria-driven head-banging and nostalgic-driven cries of happiness. The encore invoked a sense of community, as open hands filled the venue and emotional fans sang together to Twelve Feet Deep. The gig ended with one lucky fan winning Ciaran O’Donnell’s broken Les Paul.

It was impossible to feel bitter clutching my losing raffle ticket as I entered Kentish Town station. As in my state of exhaustion, and sticky from stray beers flying over the crowd, echoes from the gig were heard throughout the underground as euphoric Front Bottoms fans made their way home.