LIVE: The Front Bottoms / Allison Weiss @ Dingwalls, London [24/09/2013]

By Ben Tipple

The Front Bottoms – Photo Gallery by Maryam Hassan

Other than possessing one of those names that you might mutter in the office to your forty-something year old boss without truly thinking about the connotations, The Front Bottoms are rapidly developing into one of the most exciting bands in alternative music. Although tonight’s venue ultimately feels a little sparse, their cult appeal and subsequent following is becoming increasingly obvious.

Suitably warmed up by Allison Weiss’ solo renditions of tracks from her recent offerings, both the support and the headline act successfully turn music based story-telling into an expertly art form. It is this ability to get meaningful lyrics across to an undeniably catchy melody that see Weiss and The Front Bottoms as a perfect touring double. Largely, this is also what endears them to their fans. With each track telling an uncensored story, there are times where the gig could equally be a spoken word performance piece in darkest Shoreditch.

Be it the dedicated fans that yell “SCHWING” at the top of their voices as frontman Brian Sella takes to the stage (a sort-of private joke emanating from their previous performance in the nation’s capital) or the ear-shattering sing-alongs that permeate throughout Dingwalls, The Front Bottoms are steadily defined by their fans in a live environment. Visibly fuelled by this energy, Sella, Uychich and their touring band respond to the crowd with aplomb.

The Front Bottoms cleverly build momentum with their setlist, saving the heavy hitters for the end yet delivering crowd favourites at all the right moments. Tracks from this year’s ‘Talon of the Hawk’ draw the biggest response, with ‘Au Revoir’ and ‘Skeleton’ proving early favourites.

The encore of ‘Maps’ and ‘Twin Size Mattress’ end up feeling like a momentous crescendo, the latter elevating the hairs on the back of necks across the venue. The relationship between the fans and the band explodes as the room reverberates with unified singing and indications from the stage that the band are loving every moment.

As Sella dives into the crowd for a final surf after the closing notes of ‘Twin Size Mattress’ there is nothing left to do other than soak in the electric atmosphere. By no means defined by one moment tonight has been simply brilliant and a well-deserved step up even from their relatively recent Barfly show. Based on tonight, The Front Bottoms are one of the most accomplished and downright excellent live bands on the circuit.