I had the opportunity to see folk punk masterminds, The Front Bottoms at the Majestic Theater in Madison, this past Tuesday, November 3rd and I was at a loss for words. But, after a few days of reflection, I was able to come up with the words written below.
The Theater was fairly smaller than most venues, which explains why this show was sold out, but it still had a balcony section and a full bar with room across from it for merch. The majestic had a pit area and another area for a more laid back concert feel but without the chairs. I was viewing from this section, because we wanted to take it all in from a comfortable vecinity, and it didn’t hurt that we were standing at eye-level of the members of each of the bands, most importantly, The Front Bottoms.
If you are not familiar with The Front Bottoms or this particular genre, it can be described to the liking of anyone knowledgeable of pop punk, emo/rock, and indie. The Front Bottoms have their own distinctive sound, but with these genres combined, it can all be summed up with this relatively new term described as “folk punk.” Other bands in this realm of music include The Violent Femmes and Modern Baseball.
The band consists of four members: Brian Sella, Matt Uychich, Tom Warren, and Ciaran O’Donnell. Across all of their recorded albums, the obvious guitar, bass, drums, and vocals are consistent, but with the last three full lengths, you can hear refreshing keyboard and synth sounds as well as undulating brass sounds via trumpet. This is just one of a myriad of reasons to suggest that The Front Bottoms are anything but your ordinary pop punk or indie band.
The Front Bottoms opened and closed with old favorites “Flying Model Rockets” and “Twin Size Mattress,” of which everyone sang every word. The tour was mainly a new album tour, but featured many songs from past albums (self-titled, Talon of the Hawk), like these. Their new album “Back on Top” was released in mid-September this year. I remember listening to it the day it came out and it being a somewhat perpetual occurrence after that. It wasn’t long before I had all of the songs nearly memorized backwards and front, which is a common thing for any Front Bottoms fan, with their catchy tunes, unique sound and ever-so-relatable lyrics.
After they played the first old jam, they went into “Help” off of their new album Back On Top and everyone immediately cheered and started dancing to the infectious synth with which the song commences. This song is by far the most dance-conducive off of this new album. Other excited reactions were provoked by songs including “The Beers,” a party anthem song catchier than you can fathom, and “Skeleton,” an upbeat single from their more folk-punk album, Talon of the Hawk.
The Front Bottoms toured alongside Elvis Depressedly and The Smith Street Band. Both gave outstanding performances and complemented The Front Bottoms’ sound well. This tour is sold out for the most part, but if you find yourself in Europe next semester, they will be touring there, as well. Otherwise, you can just enjoy the infectious melodies from the comfort of your own home. Have a listen, nod your head and dwell on past relationships or think about the future.