LIVE: The Front Bottoms / PUP @ The Garage, London

By Ben Tipple

The Front Bottoms at Reading Festival 2014

Sometimes a band simply explodes in stature before your very eyes, often as the result of being picked up by mainstream radio, press and TV. Sometimes, as is the case with tonight’s headliners The Front Bottoms, the explosion is far more subtle. Sometimes it’s neigh on impossible to pin-point the moment when a band’s fan-base move from selling out the Camden Barfly to selling out London’s The Garage in just over a year.

Immediately evident at their Reading Festival performance, The Front Bottoms have become a force to be reckoned with. Although still, and presumably permanently, walking around with one of the most uncomfortable band-names to discuss at the family dinner table, The Fronty B’s have clearly come into their own – so to speak.

As PUP take to the stage in the absolutely sweltering Garage, it’s time for an all-out punk-rock party. Showcasing tracks from their debut self-titled album, which swung out of leftfield earlier this year to take the alternative world by storm. PUP’s on-stage energy is easily transferred into the audience. Frontman Stefan Babcock’s smile can most likely be seen from space as they power through a short set of album highlights, including ‘Guilt Trip’, ‘Dark Days’ and set closer ‘Reservoir’. ‘Yukon’ is the most noticeable track of PUP’s set, delivering a more downbeat force and flooding the room in swaggered rock and roll.

It’s a great warm-up to The Front Bottoms, who are, as ever, on jaw dropping form. Having spent most of their time on the road honing their live skills, the four-piece sound just as intimate in this venue as they do in the likes of Dingwalls or the Barfly. It’s an important skill for a band who rely heavily on their ability to tell a story through their music, something which has fared well in their transition from a small-venue duo to a large venue fully-fledged band.

Every fan in tonight’s packed out Garage is a die hard. Every fan knows every word, as the audience more than often drown out frontman Brian Sella’s characteristic vocals. Tracks such as ‘Maps’, ‘Father’, ‘Skeleton’ and ‘Au Revoir’ are met with an unbeatable riotous atmosphere, all building up to the perfect climax of ‘Twin Size Mattress’.

Both The Front Bottoms and PUP are two of the most exciting live bands on today’s live music circuit, and every single person in The Garage is fully on board. Tonight has been brought to you by party vibes and sweat.