With the right music, any night of the year can feel like a Saturday in the middle of the summer and there is no up and coming band other than The Front Bottoms who would be better suited to turn a Thursday night show in January into the sweatiest dance party of the year. In two short years, I’ve seen this band go from playing for dozens of people to hundreds of people, and I am positive that the number will soon be in the thousands. Anyone who was lucky enough to make it into Thursday nights sold-out show knows what I mean, but we will save that for later.
The opening acts for this show were perfectly selected, and kept the anxious crowd more than satisfied as they waited for their favorite, quirky, New Jersey outfit to take the stage. Long Island locals, State Lines kicked the show off with an energetic pop-punk performance. Each song in their set was drenched with a wide array of influences. Some songs made me feel like I was watching a young Taking Back Sunday, and others, a young Green Day. Regardless, this band has it together and it will be exciting to see them grow into a sound that is completely their own.
Next up was You Blew It!, a band that has garnered tons of recent blogosphere hype with their own contributions to the so-called #emorevival. With their performance, they proved themselves worthy of every positive mention that they’ve received. This Florida ticket fits right in on Long Island, where emo never really left. Their set had faithful fans singing along, and newcomers falling in love with their rough-around-the-edges blend of indie and punk that demands to be heard. If it weren’t for the fact that The Front Bottoms were taking the stage next, I would have been happy to keep falling in love forever. You Blew It! played an eight song set that felt entirely too short and included songs from Medal of Honor to You & Me & Me, giving an equal amount of play time to each of their releases.
Finally it was time for The Front Bottoms to take the stage. The space was dense with sweat and anticipation in the time between sets. Everyone was ready. They kicked off their set with “Skeleton”, an unexpected but brilliant choice of an opener. With a backdrop made of a spraypainted sheet, an inflatable snowman, and overall disheveled appearance, The Front Bottoms live presence was as random and relaxed as the music itself. Nobody does not giving a damn quite as perfectly as these guys. As the band cruised through songs from both of their major releases, frontman Brian Sella provided the audience with several hilariously zany anecdotes throughout the set. Each song in the setlist provided a change in momentum. From dark and steady “Swimming Pool” to upbeat and schizophrenic “The Feud”, the start of every track brought something new to be excited about. Before long, The Front Bottoms were playing the last song of their set, “Flashlight” the iconic single off of their self-titled album. Of course, nobody was ready for the show to be over and the crowd begged for one more song, but got three. With “Twelve Feet Deep”, “Maps”, and “Twin Size Mattress”, The Front Bottoms gave the crowd a taste of the oldest, older, and most recent versions of the band, ending the night with as much momentum as it started with.
I consider myself lucky to have been at this incredible show at 89 North, because I wholeheartedly believe that The Front Bottoms shows are only going to get less and less intimate as time goes on. I also know that no matter how much well-deserved recognition this band gets, and no matter how old I get, seeing them play will always feel like attending the best high-school house party ever.