Shortly after being surrounded by neverending jam-packed traffic from Los Angeles to San Diego I finally made it to the House of Blues in San Diego. Now instead of being shoulder deep in traffic, I was shoulder to shoulder with a sold-out crowd awaiting indie rock band The Front Bottoms.
The show began with rockers The Bad Bad Hats followed by the English rock group Basement. Unfortunately, I missed The Bad Bad Hats, but I did overhear multiple fans approaching the merch table who were not only buying t-shirts, but also congratulating the band on a show well done. I did have the pleasure of catching the end of Basement’s set. Since returning from a two-year hiatus in 2014 Basement has been a very busy group. Kicking off their return with a new EP titled Further The Sky the band began to make new music. The EP was followed up by the bands 2016 studio album Promise Everything. In February Basement signed with Fueled By Ramen which also features The Front Bottoms on their roster. As for the show, the group played some old hits such as Pine as well as a few others from their album Colourmeinkindness and closed out their set with Promise Everything. The live show hit every fan’s expectation with lead vocalist Andrew Fisher bouncing around the stage meanwhile guitarists Alex Henry and Ronan Crix rocked with bassist Duncan Stewart and drummer James Fisher.
After a brief set change, The Front Bottoms hit the stage. Fresh off the October release of the band’s album Going Grey the band played a mixed set of classics, requests, and new hits from Going Grey. Packed from wall to wall fans were drinking and singing along to every word of West Virgina, Peace Sign, Grand Finale, You Used To Say (Holy Fuck) and so much more. The best part of seeing The Front Bottoms live is that there are no tracks. The violins, the acoustics, the keys, the cowbell, and the drums are all live. Every song you hear sounds just as good if not better than it does on the record. Some highlights of the show came from Brian Sella who plays guitar and does lead vocals. He mentioned a while back when they were playing a show at HOB San Diego in a smaller room rapper Yo Gotti offered for them to come up onstage with him, but Sella says tonight was a much better show. After playing Beers from the group’s self-titled album Sella reached out to the crowd for requests. Trying to sort through the multiple responses he was receiving the band went ahead with the song 12 feet deep. The Front Bottoms wrapped up their set with Twin Size Mattress before thanking the crowd for always coming out to the shows and leaving the stage. The audience immediately rose in chants for one more song. The band returned for a few more songs: Lonely Eyes and Flashlight (which was dedicated to a fan with a Front Bottoms tattoo). Once more Sella thanked the fans and said “I love you forever” before exiting for the final time.
Overall this rock/indie show was pretty solid. The line up draws a huge audience and the bands cater to everyone’s taste. The tour rolls on through the East Coast and then onto Germany and the United Kingdom. So buy tickets while you still can because The Front Bottoms don’t need ticket scalpers to sell out a show!
Photos © Dane Burns