Live Reviews - Reviews

The Front Bottoms @ QUBSU


The Front Bottoms are flying high at the minute, fresh off a support slot in the US with Say Anything and selling out a number of their shows on their current UK tour.  Renowned for bringing the fun with their live shows, stage props and all, and Brian Sella’s deeply personal lyrics doing the heavy-lifting. They have a lot of hype to back up on this show.

Although the SU bar is hardly packed for the show the crowd here are ready to enjoy themselves and that alone makes the room feel more crowded. Indeed, It’s immediately clear that The Front Bottoms are here to have fun as Brian Sella shares self-professed “bullshit” stories of how his grandma built his guitar and the time he made out with his twin sister’s boyfriend or even the “backflip” of bassist Tom Warren before the band blast into ‘Back Flip’. The audience even begin chanting for parts of the stories, names in the crowd and chugging beers. It’s all encouraged by Sella who is either surprised by how Belfast is welcoming them or intent on coaxing a good time out of every crowd he encounters. As a frontman he has that something which makes each individual watching him feel a connection with him evident in the reaction of fans who scream to their friends at the merest hint of eye contact as he looks out to the crowd.

Sounding just like their records with just enough added punky rawness to give their live show an extra something, the Front Bottoms go through all the favourites off their self-titled and Talon of the Hawk albums, as well as a few off the new Rose EP including ‘Funny You Should Ask’, ‘Twin Size Mattress’ and ‘Maps’.  Each song seems to resonate with people in the crowd as couples wrap arms around each other, fists are thrown into the air and mates scream the words into each other’s faces. It’s all held together by Matt Uychich absolutely hammering the drums from the side of the stage. Live it is even more evident that his proficiency holds the things together with Ciaran O’Donnell’s trumpets, keys and guitar adding that extra layer to give TFB their poppy appeal. Sella’s voice occasionally breaks towards the end of the set although it’s impossible to tell if it’s passion or their strenuous tour schedule as of late.

As though wanting to ensure the crowd know they are at a party, the band drop balloons on the crowd during set-closer, ‘Twin Size Mattress’, Sella ending the show by telling the crowd that he knew Belfast was going to treat the Front Bottoms right, hence recording the set – something that is met with a roar of approval. He proceeds to down a beer in one (due, no less, to the audience chant of “down in one!”) and the band conclude on ‘Mountain’

Tonight the Front Bottoms deliver on the hype and then some. The Belfast crowd leave into the midnight cold only to gather outside the Union, smoking and continuing the party atmosphere – and maybe availing of a final connection with Sella. James Trotter