The Front Bottoms make their grand return to The Magic City with their largest headlining show in Birmingham to date.
Touring in support of their latest EP, Theresa, The Front Bottoms look to build on past success with future progress. The project, part of their 'grandma' trilogy, sees the band reinvent old, unreleased tracks. Their performances follows this same vigor, with the band returning to the stage better, brighter, and punker than ever.
Alternative-rocker and one-man-band Mobley took the stage first. A name many in the crowd did not recognize, but one they would soon remember, Mobley is a master of performance. With the use of looping and backing tracks, Mobley utilizes guitar, keys, and drums into a concoction of sound expected of a quintet. His mastery of all his instruments is confounded by his use of 'outside the box' sounds, including using fans as a drum machine through some technical wizardry. His name may sound familiar to some WEGL readers, as late last year he opened for David Shaw's solo tour, but for most, Mobley is a new name with a new sound.
Welsh indie-rockers The Joy Formidable served as direct support. Previously unannounced, the trio took many fans, including myself, by surprise. The band had just played Furnace Fest, a local music festival, three weeks prior and were not expected to perform. Thankfully they did, as they quite frankly knocked the socks off of me. Their candid attitudes mixed with punk sensibility created an awesome atmosphere reminiscent of a house show. Their song "Gotta Feed My Dog" was a clear stand out in my book, and helped elevate an already explosive mosh pit to new levels. The Joy Formidable were a fantastic pairing with The Front Bottoms, and certainly a stand out show.
The Front Bottoms were everything fans could have asked for and then some. Now over a decade into their career, The Front Bottoms wear their veteran status on their sleeve, while continuing to innovate and push the envelop in their scene. The product of Brian Sella (vocals, guitar) and Mat Uychich (drums), the band has seen their sound grow and evolve over the course oof five studio albums. Between their debut in 2011 and their latest in 2022, the duo have developed tremendously, and their live shows have followed suit.
Without a doubt a talented pair, Brian and Mat are joined on tour with a couple of touring musicians to help flesh out their sound. Every song throughout the night hit exactly how you'd want it to, undeniably recognizable, but also tweaked and refined for a live performance distinct from their recordings. The band has truly hit their stride, and this tour felt like a victory lap taking place only halfway through the race.
On stage energy was eccentric and in no short supply. From a hotdog toss to having Mobley join on stage, there was never a dull moment from the audience. Production also exceeded expectations, with the band touring with a large lighting package. One moment during the show that immediately pops out is the bubble blowers on "Twin Sized Mattress", something that easily excited the crowd.
Eighteen songs across their setlist paired with six audience requests made for a lengthy night of music. The Front Bottoms aren't stingy, giving fans the usual hits, "Skeleton", Twin Sized Mattress", and "Flashlight", as well as plenty of deep cuts from "Wolfman" to "Ginger".
2. Funny You Should Ask
3. Montgomery Forever
4. West Virginia
7. The Bongo Song
8. love at first sight
9. Be Nice To Me
10. Plastic Flowers
11. Cough It Out
12. The Beers
14. Hello World
15. Twin Sized Mattress (ft. Mobley)
17. Au Revoir (Adios)
18. Leaf Pile
19. 12 Feet Deep
21. The Plan (F*ck Jobs)
The band is looking to wrap up their 2022 with a band, finishing out their October leg with Mobley and picking back up in December. Austin marks the beginning of their "Road To Champagne Jam" tour, a run of shows leading up to their annual "Champagne Jam" festival. Their remaining tour dates are below.
10/19 Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore~
10/20 Baltimore, MD — Rams Head Live!~
12/2 Austin, TX — Emo's*
12/4 Phoenix, AX — ZONA Music Festival 2022
12/6 Fort Worth, TX — Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall*
12/7 Memphis, TN — Minglewood Hall*
12/9 St. Augustine, FL — St. Augustine Amphitheatre Backyard Stage*
12/10 Charleston, SC — Charleston Music Hall*
12/11 Raleigh, NC — The Ritz^*
12/13 Charlottesville, VA — Jefferson Theater^*
12/14 Norfolk, VA — The NorVa^*
12/16 Philadelphia, PA — Champagne Jam [Night 1]
12/17 Philadelphia, PA — Champagne Jam [Night 2]
~ with Mobley
* with Sydney Sprague
^ with slothrust
As a massive fan of The Front Bottoms I say this will complete and utter bias; I loved this show. The Front Bottoms continue to excite with their live performances and prove that they have not past their prime, but are actually cruising into it. If you go and see The Front Bottoms live, expect a night you will not forget anytime soon.