New Jersey’s alternative heroes The Front Bottoms kicked off a three-night run at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall on May 18. All three shows sold out rather quickly, with each night offering a different lineup of opening artists.
The Front Bottoms hail from Woodcliff Lake and largely consists of two long standing members; Brian Sella on guitar and vocals and Matt Uychich on drums. Formed in 2006, the band released their self-titled debut in 2011, but really saw a breakthrough with their second album, Talon of the Hawk. From there, they were signed to pop punk labels Run for Cover Records as well as Fueled by Ramen.
Opening for them on Night One was New York comedian Ian Fidance and Philly alternative band Riverby. Ian took the stage at 8 pm and proceeded to tell jokes about how pompous dog people are, condemning his cats by naming them, sobriety in the legalization age, and more. After his 15 minute set, he announced Riverby to the stage. The quintet of August, G, Mol, Tyler, and Doug are riding the wave of their second album, Absolution, which dropped earlier this year.
After their first song, the lead singer joked, “The good thing is none of you know who we are, so there’s no expectation.” Someone from the crowd chimed in, “I do.” “You do? Fuck.” The crowd laughed. Two standout songs from their set were “Baseless” about getting sweet revenge and their final song “Smart Mouth.” Riverby posted this show as their largest concert to date, and with their angst and catchy grooves, they will go far. Glad to see them on the ground floor at one of my favorite venues!
Matt and Brian took the stage shortly after alongside four touring musicians. “Montgomery Forever” started off their set followed by “Backflip.” The floor was shaking from all of the excited fans jumping up and down.
“I don’t know about you, but this feels like a Friday night to me,” said Brian afterwards. “We’re back…back in J.C…just you and me…,” which led into “Historic Cemetery.” Brian is charming, yet laser focused simultaneously. He stands confident behind that mic stand, and much of the meekness in their lyrics is behind him.
The Front Bottoms will always remind me of freshman year of college. All my friends in the dorm were talking about this popular band that was gaining traction with this song “Twin Sized Mattress.” Then, I became accustomed to them because of my college radio station. I admittedly was not a huge fan, and I think largely had to do with Brian’s voice. My opinion has changed; his voice sounds much more developed live. They are one example of sounding better live than on studio recordings in my opinion. The acoustics of the White Eagle Hall definitely contribute.
The band played 20 songs; all of their hits accounted for- “Maps,” “Love at First Sight,” “Peach,” and ending with a two song encore of “More than It Hurts You” and “Leaf Pile.” The screaming from the crowd that knew every word was deafening. If Night One is any indication how much we have missed the duo, then Nights Two and Three will be just as memorable. These shows are the band’s first in 2022, and they surely will be triumphant.