Sound Control is sold out tonight for the arrival of The Front Bottoms in Manchester. The band is here in support of their new six-track 'Rose' EP and their recent shows at Bestival and the Reading/Leeds festivals.
There is a tangible buzz among a very youthful audience and the venue is filling up nicely as first support act, Toronto's PUP take the stage. Their pace and energy is evident as they open up with 'Guilt Trip', a great song made complete with the catchiest of gang vocals on the chorus. Singer/Guitarist Stefan Babcock, whilst small in stature, has a big stage presence and a powerful voice. He wriggles around the stage, jumping and dancing throughout the band's 30 minute set and his infectious energy increasingly manifests itself with the crowd as the set progresses. They manage to play the majority of songs from their highly-acclaimed self-titled debut album, penultimately finishing their night with their slowest song 'Yukon', which cleverly leads in to the incredibly impressive high-tempo'd single 'Reservoir'. This ups the ante with the crowd, and Babcock stage dives complete with guitar in to the audience, and is passed back on to the stage just in time to complete the song.
Bearing in mind that their debut album was released less than a year ago, PUP have come a long way in a short space of time and have all the hallmarks of an exciting and talented band with bags of potential. In time, I see no reason why they won't be headlining this venue themselves if tonight is anything to go by. Unfortunately for PUP, tonight's audience don't seem to have grasped this yet. They are here for one reason
Shortly after PUP leave the stage, New Jersey duo Brian Sella and Matt Uychich aka The Front Bottoms start their repertoire with 'Skeleton', taken from their latest album 'Talon of the Hawk', accompanied by two additional live band members.
Instantaneously the crowd are in full voice, and singer Brian Sella is lapping it up as a choir of a hundred teenagers sing "and I got soooo stoned
." in tandem with him. This is the theme for the rest of the night. The Front Bottoms have an array of anecdotal songs with sharp, witty lyrics that this young crowd can relate to. The impetus this generates during the course of their set helps to create a party atmosphere, which adds to an already impressive set. You cannot help but smile when watching them. Sella has an infectious enthusiasm and proclaims that he will never forget tonight's gig. The crowd can feel satisfied that they've contributed towards him feeling this way.
The band play a mix of old and new songs. Staples including as 'Maps', 'Backflip' and 'The Beers' are warmly received, along with songs from the 'Rose' EP including 'Lipstick Covered Magnet' which is actually an old fan favourite that has been re-mastered for the CD.
The last song of the night is perhaps the highlight of the set, the catchy single 'Twin Size Matress', a song which brings the biggest sing-along of the night for the chorus I'm sure that we can find something for you to do something on stage, maybe shake a tambourine or when I sing, you sing harmonies.
The Front Bottoms thank the Manchester crowd and leave the stage, politely staying behind to pose for photos and talk with their devoted followers. A nice touch to complement a well-executed set. It's a job well done for the New Jersey boys.