The Front Bottoms are one of those bands, where if you stop paying attention for two seconds, they’ve literally ascended to a whole new level of greatness. Coincidentally their latest album is titled Back On Top, as they’re definitely on top of the world and have raised the bar while they’re up there. Heading down to the final stop of their almost entirely sold out UK tour at London’s Koko; we definitely had no idea about the great night we were about to experience.
The honour of opening up the night was entrusted on Kevin Devine and The Goddamn Band. The level of musicianship these guys displayed was beyond phenomenal, it was hard not to watch this performance in awe. It’s difficult to describe, but at some point it became slightly uncomfortable, not the bad kind of uncomfortable, just the kind you get when someone pours as much passion and emotion into their performance as Kevin does.
There was something so humbling about being fortunate enough to witness that, as if this band knew no home other than that stage. With each passing track, the performance became more inspiring with a definite highlight being ‘Redbird’ full of spine chilling twists and turns. During the final track, the mic stand was knocked over, resulting in Kevin kneeling over sing into the microphone laying on the ground. What a way to end the set.
Now how on earth were The Front Bottoms ever going to top that? Forgive me, the first and last time I ever saw them was out supporting Brand New in 2014 and evidently A LOT has happened in those two years. For starters, The Front Bottoms’ intro track was Celine Dion‘s infamous ‘My Heart Will Go On’. That in itself is worthy of a 10/10 review, and the crowd who instantly erupted into song upon hearing it will agree.
Luckily, what came afterwards on The Front Bottoms’ part exceeded their perfect choice of introduction track. Here’s the thing, from the numerous gigs I’ve gone to over the years I have never experienced anything quite like this; I’ve never witnessed any band get the reception London gave the New Jersey band that night. From the first second of set opener ‘Skeleton’ to the final note of ‘Twin Size Mattress’, the crowd was constantly jumping in unison to the point that there were instances where you could feel the ground rumble beneath your feet. I kid you not, everybody sang along to every single word of every single song. With the cheers that greeted the start of each track, you’d think each one was The Front Bottoms’ biggest hit.
Music wise, they ticked all the boxes no doubt about that; and the show would still have been a success with just four guys standing on stage playing their instruments. That wasn’t the case though, and were given a damn good performance. The massive disco ball hanging on Koko’s ceiling was a cute touch, covering the room in sparkles whenever the light from stage hit it; but that was just child’s play. To accompany ‘West Virginia’, bubbles floated across the room, proving no matter how old you are, you’d still watch in amusement and try to pop all the bubbles you can.
The Front Bottoms bid the crowd farewell with ‘Plastic Flowers’, when balloons of various sizes fell from the ceiling. Now, it was beyond obvious that the night was not over quite yet as they hadn’t played ‘Twin Size Mattress’, a definite staple piece. What was unexpected though, was before the band played two additional songs, bassist Tom Warren walked back on stage to recite a passage from Star Wars.
Try to tell me these guys haven’t won coolest gig ever. It’s clear they’ve captivated the hearts of so many already, and there’s no doubt they’ll win over a lot more. Do yourself a favour, if there’s one gig you ever go to, make sure it’s a The Front Bottoms one.