Tales from the Tour: The Front Bottoms

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 at 8:59 PM
Tales from the Tour: The Front Bottoms by Kimberly Firestine
The Front Bottoms have come a long way since their days playing basement shows.

The first time I saw The Front Bottoms was in the fall of 2013, shortly after a stint of following Taking Back Sunday’s tour with Transit and Polar Bear Club. The last show I saw on that tour ended with me driving over a deer carcass in the middle of an unlit road, completely destroying anything and everything underneath my car, leaving me stalled out in Owego, New York, roughly 20 minutes from home, at two in the morning.

I had just gotten into listening to The Front Bottoms when it was announced they’d be playing in the club side of the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester. I bought tickets, my friend Brittany took the bus up from Long Island, and there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to that show.

The Club at Water Street is a smaller part of the bigger Water Street Music Hall in the middle of Rochester. Its capacity is a meager 350 people — including the balcony area — and is standing room only, while the Music Hall side can fit over 1,000. It’s better suited for more intimate performances and is a nice place to catch any up-and-coming band.

Before seeing The Front Bottoms there, I had no idea what it was going to be like. I didn’t expect the crowd to feel like a surging whirlpool, with people constantly getting tossed around, both in the air and pushed over the edge of the stage. I didn’t expect to watch two complete strangers dance around with each other because they were there to have a good time and didn’t care about anything other than that. I didn’t expect security to have to stop the show twice to back the crowd up because they were pushing so hard that the people at the front of the stage were bent over at almost a 90 degree angle. I didn’t expect to see Brian Sella crowdsurf to the back where the merch was set-up following the final song of the night because that was the only way he could get off of the stage.

At this point in their career, only Mat Uychic and Brian Sella were recognized members of the band. Cierran O’Donnell and Tom Warren were recognized as touring members. But they all formed what is possibly one of the greatest current conglomerations of artistic talent that I’ve seen in a long time. Though they’re still considered slight underdogs, The Front Bottoms have come such a long way in these short two and a half years. Since that show in 2013, I’ve seen them perform to a small crowd in Syracuse, a dive bar in Ithaca, a random field in Cooperstown and an absolutely mind-bottling large crowd in New Jersey at Skate and Surf Music Festival.

More recently, they played a show in Cleveland this past Halloween, which sold out its original venue, the Theater at The Agora, and was moved to The Agora Ballroom. At 2,000 tickets sold, it was the largest headlining show that The Front Bottoms have ever played and being able to be there was a very “proud mom” moment for Brittany and I. I’ve never had more fun at a show than I do when I get to see The Front Bottoms. The people are always nice and you get to just dance around and scream lyrics at your friends without a single feeling of judgment or care in the world. Passing up a chance to see them would be a huge mistake. Watching a band explode the way they have has been a wild ride and I pray that it just keeps getting bigger and better for them.

Kimberly Firestine is the Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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