There’s a sense that the band The Front Bottoms (★★★★★) have now garnered a cult-like status, if the queue in the drizzly weather isn’t enough evidence of that. When discussing the band, you can sometimes be met with gleeful recognition or “I’m sorry, the what?!” You’ve either been sucked into the little universe TFB have created or you are an outsider. This kind of exclusivity creates a feeling of safety within the audience, of a comfortable belonging. The band have travelled up the ranks over the past few years, going from strength to strength which has led them to playing to a 600-strong, sold out crowd in Glasgow, just one stop on a fully sold out UK tour.
The only support of the evening comes in the form of the wonderful Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band (★★★★★) (bassist Jason Russo and drummer Damon Cox) and the trio make the most of their short half hour support slot as Devine boasts not only an impressive but lengthy back catalogue. Firing into to hits from his last two records, Bulldozer and Bubblegum, we are treated to the passionate fervour that Devine omits in his stage presence. He is a master of genre hopping, an all encompassing entity that draws on influences such as Kurt Cobain and Elliot Smith. While he is humble, he has all the makings of a rockstar. Along with this treat, there is a new song played from an upcoming record due later this year. There is also a promise that he will be returning to tour the forthcoming album. What you have to admire about Kevin, is that he throws his heart and soul into every performance. By the fourth song, his face was dripping with sweat. One particular highlight comes in the set closer, Brothers Blood, which he performs as a lengthy, military style drums styled, beautifully riffed, incredible sight and sound to behold.
The excitement has reached boiling point in the interim and the crowd chant ‘here we fucking go,’ a statement that rings through the venue another twice again during the night. The crowd erupts to the opening notes of Flashlight. Frontman Brian – or Stephen? – Sella is quick when someone in the crowd shouts “Who are you?” with “We’re The Front Bottoms,” dedicating the next song, The Plan (Fuck Jobs), to him.
They exort an infectious cathartic energy with their own indie-cum-pop punk sound, through their playful lyrics and melodies and mixture of skilful drumming and insatiable rhythm throughout. This energy bounces off the crowd and they know precisely what’s coming next. An audible, collective cough in the opening verse of the song Cough It Out, steps in for the one on the album. Similarly, when the prominent verse during The Beers plays, the roof of the Garage is almost torn off with the volume that rings out of the crowd. There are sweet moments too, when one fan who has continuously been up on stage at every TFB show – she has sizeable thigh tattoos of Sella and drummer Mat Uychich – comes on stage again after a chance interaction with the band. She dances onstage and the night becomes full circle. In that room there is fierce passion, emotion, some tears, large grins and big hearts. This is what performing live is all about. Hell, the band can even rev up their fans with a simple bubble machine. The Front Bottoms are at the top (not back, because they never went anywhere) of their game and prove that they will only get better from here.