The Garage – September 5th | Photo by Charlotte Davidson
The sold-out crowd at tonight’s Front Bottoms show looks surprisingly young. Usually my cynical and recently-turned-thirty self would feel old, but it’s the complete opposite. There’s a youthful energy dripping off The Garage’s sweating walls, reminiscent of when I first started going to Punk Rock shows, some 15 years ago. I feel some sort of pride for these kids, thinking “You could just as easily be at an All Time Low gig, but you’re here. You fucking made it!”. As I look around, I spot other hardened gig veterans nearer the back, wearing their 90’s Emo band shirts like military stripes. And in that moment, I know this gig is going to be special, because age aside, we’re all here for the same reason…
PUP kick things off in tremendous fashion, filling a well-deserved support slot. The crowd are attentive, respectful and appreciative of these Canucks, by the end of the set however, there are circle pits, crowd surfers and almost every hand in the air. It’s apparent that PUP’s raucous and catchy brand of melodic Punk Rock has garnered them a room full of new fans. It’s more than a suitable warm-up for what’s about to proceed.
With the aforementioned youthful energy now filling every corner of The Garage, it quickly erupts as The Front Bottoms make their way onto the stage, kicking proceedings off with 2013’s ‘Skeleton’. From there on, we’re treated to a setlist covering highlights from ‘Talon of the Hawk’, their self-titled effort, as well as new tracks from the recent ‘Rose’ EP (or old staples from ‘I Hate My Friends’ and ‘My Grandma Vs. Pneumonia’, depending on how long you’ve been a fan). From the likes of ‘Twelve Feet Deep’ to ‘Flashlight’, ‘Au Revoir – Adios’ to ‘The Beers’ – each song is played with an incredible amount of energy and passion, with the whole of The Garage on backing vocals, not one person missing a word. Front Bottoms vocalist, Brian Sella, claims he’s “losing his voice” – but you wouldn’t know it.
As the gig goes on, with a relentlessly upbeat momentum, it’s not hard to see why so many people love this band. They seem genuinely overwhelmed by the response they’re receiving. It’s this humbling presence that makes The Front Bottoms that much more affirmable, and their wonderfully crafted brand of acoustic Punk Rock so relatable: it’s heartfelt, based on things we’ve all experienced and told by someone genuine. It’s fucking perfect.
Closing with ‘Twin Size Mattress’, the crowd come together for one last roar, and it’s glorious. Coming away from the gig feeling nothing but pure joy, not remembering the last time I saw a gig at The Garage that felt like a Punk Rock show at The Black Heart or The Peel. But tonight’s show was just that, and it’s a special type of band that can do that. Tonight, I was 15 years old again.