Reviews

Live Review – The Front Bottoms – O2 Ritz Manchester

On their second UK tour of the year The Front Bottoms are coming back with their infectiously fun and energetic set, alongside being fresh off their recent US Tour supporting Brand New alongside emo/pop-punk band Modern Baseball, it is set to be a string of shows to remember. Coming along for the ride are skate punk trio Gnarwolves and Indie Rockers Apologies, I Have None.

Coming in to what was quite a filled room, Apologies, I Have None unfortunately started off a little rocky. Opening on The 26 the band seemed a little caught off guard by the crowd that lay before them but soon enough started to find their rhythm. Moving through their set at a brisk pace the band found themselves getting more comfortable not only with the crowd but also the stage, as they took advantage of the space in  the way they held themselves whilst up there. After flying through tracks such as Sat In Vicky ParkLove and Medication and Wraith Apologies, I Have None truly showed why they have nothing to apologize for, when they dropped Everybody Wants To Talk About Mental Health, which was the main highlight of their set. Not only due to their instrumentation but also the vocal performance. Rounding off their set, which felt very Alt. Rock with this strange blend of Gnarwolves and The Front Bottoms, the band played A Pharmacy in Paris. Overall Apologies, I Have None played in a way which will have gained them many new fans as they sang about different issues with a sound that is very original, not only in terms of their instrumentation but also Josh McKenzie’s flawless vocals, and after quickly finding their feet they are a band who are worth watching time and again. [7.5/10]

apologies i have none

After the gap, and with a simple ‘alright’ the band that was to follow needed no other introduction as they quickly dove into Boneyard, ripe with angst and passion; the room quickly lit up as Gnarwolves plowed through Smoking Kills after a brief hello. One thing was clear as Gnarwolves started their set, they wanted to be heard and they wanted to make an impact, which they did. After Everything You Think You Know, the band, and audience alike, took a breather as the band spoke about them being ‘quiet’ since March, but as always Gnarwolves showed no sign of a quiet ‘summer holiday’ as their energy spoke volumes.

gnarwolves

The band then moved on to a trio of older tracks, starting with History Is Bunk, the crowd quickly started to respond similarly to how they have been time and again for this trio. With everyone yelling back every word and a few large pits breaking out, everything was slowed for a few moments during the start of Community, Stability, Identity, before everything was picked up again through the tight instrumentation and powerful vocals of both Thom Weeks and Charlie Piper during Coffee. After these few older tracks the band then took some time to show off two new tracks The Come Down Song and Paint Me A Martyr, both of which showed how much Gnarwolvehave not only grown as a band but also how they are still pumping out tracks that pack a massive punch.

The Waiting Line, We Want The Whip! and Bottle to Bottle followed but seemingly flew by in the same break neck pace many who have seen the band before know all to well, before the band landed upon what was the highlight of their set, their two closing tracks. Tongue Surfer and Limerence saw not only many crowd surfers but also the pure skill of a band like Gnarwolves and what makes them the band they are today. Overall Gnarwolves blew the entire crowd away with their Skater Punk sound and created quite a tall feet for The Front Bottoms. [9/10]

gnarwolves

After a strange set up was revealed to the crowd it was finally time for The Front Bottoms to take to the stage, and as they walked on it was as if no one was expecting them to be there. They quickly jumped in to Skeleton which allowed everyone in the building to know what we were getting, a show to remember. After flying through Tattoed Tears Brian Sella then addressed the crowd as a whole introducing the band before dropping in to Help. Through the instrumentation alone it was clear the The Front Bottoms were on top form and after that recent tour with Brand New it almost felt like there was something new about the band, almost as if a switch had been hit and there was no turning it off.

the front bottoms

Another quick rally of tracks followed with West Virginia, which came with those nice rain effects from the video, Lipstick Covered Magnet and Flashlight. It was clear that the band were presenting themselves to be possibly one of the best live acts many of the crowd have seen all year, through their energy and tight musicianship; it was evident that the band were giving it there all and didn’t want to slow things down quite yet and this certainly wasn’t the case. After smashing through The Plan (Fuck Jobs), and it’s juxtaposing addition, Motorcycle and Au Revoir (Adios) the band let everything settle for a few moments.

This brought out one of the many highlights of the evening as the band then started The Beers, a crowd favorite. With the entire room singing along, Brian and Tom were able to step away from their mics as the venue was filled with the lyrics that everybody knows. Continuing on, the band moved swiftly though 2YL, Backflip, Swimming Pool and Joanie, all the while keeping the crowd engaged through what was shaping out to be a flawless set.

the front bottoms

Brian then stepped back to the mic and spoke about positivity and how ‘though sometimes it is hard, we have to stay positive’ which was a soft and mellow sentiment that was felt by all. Ending their set was four more crowd pleasers which came in the form of Peach, Jim Bogart, Ginger and Twin Sized Mattress, all of which landed perfectly with everyone who was stood yelling back words, moving to every single beat of these four tracks.

Bassist Tom Warren was the first to come back to stage for the bands encore as he delivered a soft reading from a book, which although caught everyone off guard, was a welcomed addition to the bands explosive and memorable show. Coming back in to fruition with Twelve Feet Deep the night was coming to a perfect close and was only to be topped off by the bands most memorable track, both during the night but also off their self-titled Maps.

After having to follow the energetic and powerful set of Gnarwolves, The Front Bottoms were left with a tough act to follow but with a set of highs and lows which never seemed to miss a beat, it was clear how amazing this set from band was. Brian did what he usually does with his interesting, yet flawless, vocal presentation by making every song feel personal to the night, with lulls in singing to almost spoken word to improvised notes. Overall this was possibly the best The Front Bottoms show to date, and it is hard to think that they may produce a set that lands any less successfully as this from now on. [10/10]

the front bottoms

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