Archive for the ‘The Front Bottoms’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: December 17-18, 2022] Champagne Jam 2022

Every year for quite some time, The Front Bottoms have been doing a Champagne Jam at the close of the calendar year.  Brooklyn Vegan talked about in 2019:

The Front Bottoms‘ annual holiday concert Champagne Jam has taken place in NYC and NJ in the past, and this year it moves to Philadelphia. It happens December 21 (the Saturday before Christmas) at The Fillmore Philly Complex.

2022 saw them return to Philly, which has three venues all more or less connected.  I don’t know how the set times are structured–if there’s any way to see everyone (probably not).  But then again, I dind;t want to see everyone.

I bought my son and I tickets to the Saturday December 17 show figuring it was one last opportunity to see The Front Bottoms (since we kept missing them for one reason or another).  Then we wound up scheduling our own holiday jam for the same night.

So we weren’t going to go to the Friday night show anyhow, but here’s the full lineup:

Friday, December 16, 2022 in the Lobby

  • DJ Spicy Brown

Friday, December 16 2022 at The Foundry 

  • Flycatcher are from New Brunswick, NJ  According to The Deli
    • Flycatcher are a four-piece rock combo hailing from New Brunswick, New Jersey, three of whom have immaculately sculpted facial hair (well ok one of them has a bushy beard but still it’s neatly trimmed and shaped). On the musical side of things Flycatcher carry on in the fine tradition of immaculately sculpted extremely catchy power-pop-that-rocks made in the Tristate Area with oft-witty lyrics and a distinctly que será, será attitude as established by such legendary acts as Fountains of Wayne, The Feelies, The Smithereens, and the ripe-for-revival Cucumbers.
    • They sound like they are worth checking out–the one song I’ve listened to is pretty slackery.
  • Sweet Pill is an emo band from New Jersey. The band consists of vocalist Zayna Youssef, guitarist Jayce Williams, guitarist Sean McCall, bassist Ryan Cullen, and drummer Chris Kearney.  The video I watched for High Hopes was super catchy (and set in a bowling alley).
  • Another Michael is a band who have opened for a bunch of shows I haven’t gone to.  They play a kind of mellow indie rock with lead Michael’s vocals veering into R&B styles.  Not quite my thing.  But that’s only one dud in a bill I didn’t even think about going to.
  • Slothrust are from Boston.  In a review from The Revue (in Canada) from 2021, they talk about an evolving band:
    • In the 8 years we’ve been covering Slothrust, we’ve seen the band change a lot musically. They’ve shifted from the early days of jazz-infused grunge, which eventually grew into much bigger and less easy to classify sounds. Each record feels like a rebirth, from Everyone Else having a fine polish on that distinctive Slothrust sound but expanding on it at the same time. The Pact felt like an even more diverse records, with the band diving more into electronic sounds and even diving into poppier sounds. It set up any future releases nicely to dive even more into the trio’s widening approach. Their latest record, Parallel Timeline, heralds yet another rebirth of the band.  “Cranium” kicks off the record and immediately sets the tone. This is a slower Slothrust, as the chugging basslines and heavy drums are nowhere to be found. All the things that make Leah Wellbaum stand out as an artist, however, are on full display. Her voice, her surreal lyrics, and, at about halfway through the song, her guitar work. “Once More For The Ocean” hits a bit harder, kicking of with a ripping guitar solo, but it stays a bit in that pop realm with a bunch of sections that just beg to be sung along with.

Sounds like a really good night and some bands I should be on the look out for.

Friday, December 16, 2022 at Fillmore Philadelphia

  • Lunar Vacation I saw Lunar Vacation open for The Beths and they were great.  I’d happily see them again.
  • Emperor X is from Louisville, Kentucky (and presumably not the Emperor X from Berlin).  He plays a kind of low-fi pop that I see is described as a “bummer jam” which is absolutely not my thing.
  • Joyce Manor is a punk band from California who I always think are someone else.  Their latest album 40 oz to Fresno was described by The New York Times (!!!) as “relentlessly tuneful 17-minute collection of all-killer, no-filler power-pop.”  I rather like their clean punk sound.
  • The Front Bottoms are the stars of the night and the main attraction.  They were, no doubt fantastic, and I love that they give a lot of other New Jersey bands a platform.

Saturday, December 17, 2022 at Brooklyn Bowl

  • Shannen Moser I’ve seen Shannen Moser twice.  Her intense folk songs are quite good
  • Shane Henderson was the singer of Valencia and now does mostly production.
  • Tom May has “lived the dream” of being a full time, working, self-supporting folk musician.  Tom is also the founder and host of the nationally-syndicated live radio program, River City Folk.
  • Kevin Devine is someone I love and I was really looking forward to seeing his set–and hoping that it didn’t conflict with any of the other headliners.

Saturday, December 17, 2022 at The Foundry

  • Riverby are from Philly.  They are a fun indie rock band with a loose sound (and a cover of “Walk Through the Fire” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Hotline TNT is the shoegaze/indie rock project of singer-songwriter Will Anderson (a.k.a. Flip Sandy). The project began after Anderson moved from Vancouver to Minneapolis. Now based in New York, Anderson still handles the songwriting himself and has played live shows with several different lineups.
  • Kid Sister is a rapper who has appeared with Sault.

Saturday, December 17, 2022 at Fillmore Philadelphia

  • Prince Daddy & The Hyena is an American rock band from Albany, New York, formed in 2014 described as indie rock with punk and “slacker” influences
  • Soul Glo is a band I really want to see. They are an extreme punk band and will probably scare the heck out of me.  It would have been safest to see them amid all of these other bands
  • Titus Andronicus is a band I should probably love, but I just can’t get into them.
  • The Front Bottoms headlining a second night.

This seems like a really fun festival.

Jordan Norris nicely posted a video of The Front Bottoms from both shows

Friday night:

Saturday night


Also, The Flycatcher review had these two videos (because of a song called sodas in the freezer)

And a Shasta commercial

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[DID NOT ATTEND: September 15, 2022] The Front Bottoms / The Joy Formidable / Mobley

Back in May I got tickets for my son and I to see The Front Bottoms at a hometown show.  But we had both gone out the night before and didn’t feel like a second night of rocking.

This show came the night after a super late night Pearl Jam show.  So we wound up blowing off this one as well.  I’m guessing that we won’t be seeing them after all.

The Joy Formidable are a Welsh band that I’ve wanted to see for a while.  I have a ticket to see them headline in October.  So maybe it’s better that I didn’t see them here–save all of my exposure to their headline show.

Mobley is from Austin, TX and is a “writer/singer/producer of songs.”

Cut It Out magazine says

From keyboards, drums, and guitar, Mobley is a true Austin performer with a kinetic energy that makes him a unique individual. When you get a chance to see his live performances (after the pandemic, of course), you won’t be disappointed. He mixes theatrical lighting, video, and amazing energy.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: May 19, 2022] The Front Bottoms / Long Neck / Jordan Jensen

I heard my son listening to The Front Bottoms.  I didn’t realize he liked them when I saw them last year, but when the band announced this series of shows at White Eagle Hall, I knew the shows would be great and I knew he’d like to go.

Especially with this announcement

The Front Bottoms are playing a few intimate shows in their home state of NJ this spring. They’ve announced three nights at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall on May 18, 19 and 20. “To say that we’re very excited to play Jersey City is an understatement,” drummer Mathew Uychich says. “These shows are going to be very special.” Guitarist / vocalist Brian Sella adds, “I spent the best years of my life in Jersey City! I should’ve never left. It’s an honor to return home once again!”

But it turned out that the night before was my rescheduled Deftones show which he went to.  And he was pretty wiped out from it and didn’t feel like going to another long show.  So we missed out on this one.  Which seems a real shame.

Long Neck is Lily Mastrodimos.

A review of her 2018 album says that she now brings along a full-fledged rock band for the ride. Powerhouse guitar backings compliment her soulful voice in this album where easy listening meets folk-punk.

She sounds great solo, but if she played with a full band it would have been great.

Jordan Jensen is a comedian.  A random review from Spokane says

Jordan Jensen is an old-school comic who lets it all hang out. The emerging New York entertainer doesn’t care who she offends. The amusing humorist is reminiscent of the late Sam Kinison and the late Mitch Hedberg since Jensen delivers the hottest of takes on relationships and pop culture.

I think a comedian is not a bad opening act.  Ideally, have the comedian do stand up while the bands are breaking down and setting up.

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[ATTENDED: October 24, 2021] The Front Bottoms

Even though I tend to dislike Starland Ballroom, when I saw that The Front Bottoms were playing on Philly and then ending their tour at Starland, I knw I had to pick Starland.  End of the tour at a hometown show?  The choice was obvious.  And it was right.

Because in Philly, they played 23 songs but in NJ they played 31, including their entire first album front to back.

I first heard The Front Bottoms in 2013 and somehow never got around to seeing them live.  They’ve had a few shows (what they call Champagne Jams) the last few years.  I didn’t really want to see them in that kind of Festival attitude.  I did get tickets for the 2019 show but wound up not going.

So here was my redemption.

The band was a lot of fun and the crowd was so into it.  Yes they were pushy and shovy but it was all for the good of the show (at least until I saw a girl flee the room with a bloody nose).  There was a mosh pit, there was crowd surfing and more crowd surfing.  It was insane!


Most of their songs are fast and fun and lend to a lot of singing along (which we all did).  And even though these songs are kind of pop punk, they’re not short two minute ditties.  So I really didn’t know how long the show would be.

Previous sets ended after 19 songs (plus encores), so I was a little surprised when they ended the set (with the perfect set ender, “Au Revoir (Adios)” at only 16 songs.  But I figured they were going to give us a long encore. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 24, 2021] oso oso

I had not heard of oso oso but I had heard good things about them.

They came out fairly quickly after Syndey Sprague’s set.

Starland Ballroom always puts down a projector screen while the bands are setting up.  As oso oso was about to take the stage, it looked like the lead singer was doing a hand stand or a keg stand or was funneling a beer.  I couldn’t quite tell, but his feet were in the air.

I’m not sure if I was annoyed by the crowd (SO CROWDED) or what but I found oso oso to be one the most meh band I’ve seen on a long time.  I really felt nothing for them. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 24, 2021] Sydney Sprague

I have come to really hate the Starland Ballroom.  I can’t believe how long it takes them to get people inside.  One shouldn’t arrive fifteen minutes before show time and miss the opening band’s first two songs.

And that’s what happened with Sydney Sprague.  The people behind me were particularly looking forward to her too, particularly the song she opened her set with.  So I felt bad for them.

I hadn’t heard of Sprague, but she was getting some good press and I was looking forward to her set.

After missing the first two songs, I pushed my way in to an intensely crowded Starland Ballroom.  It was hard to find a good spot, but by the time I settled, Sprague was steadily rocking along.  Her songs were really good–rocking and catchy.

In fact I think her live set was more rocking and intense than her album. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 10, 2019] Kevin Devine

I saw Kevin Devine open for Frightened Rabbit back in 2017.  I didn’t know his music, but I really enjoyed his solo set.  When I heard that he was doing this tour with John K. Samson I was really excited to see him again.  I had hoped he’d be with His Goddman Band, but it turned out to be solo again.  I kind of assumed it would be with the band because of the new piece of merch (below) which I love but can’t imagine where you’d wear.

But it was excellent to see him not with the Goddamn Band because he was excellent solo.

Devine came out on stage to much applause.  He fiddled with the microphone stand and then said, you should be careful with your applause–what if I spend the whole night just tightening the mic stand.  Which he proceeded to do for another 40 seconds or so to much laughter until he admitted he couldn’t keep up the joke.

Devine played a song or more from nearly all of his nine albums as well as from his new split singles sets. (more…)

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porkSOUNDTRACK: THE FRONT BOTTOMS-“Mountain” (2011).

fb The Front Bottoms have a new album coming out.  I’ve liked a lot of their songs and decided to dig a bit deeper in their catalog, and that’s when I discovered this song which led me to realize that they are from New Jersey (Woodcliff Lake, in fact).  As a New Jersey band they clearly grew up eating Taylor Ham sandwiches.  And so they get the honor of being attached to this book.

The Front Bottoms are a fun lightly punk pop band.  The singer Brian Sella sings slightly off kilter and sometimes is speaking more than singing. And their music is energetic and sorta sloppy (but not actually sloppy at all) and it all stems from a great ball of fun that the band seems to be having.  The songs are largely guitar and drum, although they have added keyboards and the occasional trumpet to flesh out these simple ditties.

This particular song has some rollicking drums, an introductory trumpet and simple strummed guitars.  It also features this perfect lyric:

“I bought fireworks, a big bag in Pennsylvania, I’m gonna light ’em up when I get home to Jersey.  They’ll probably arrest me they’ll probably ruin my whole summer.”

Their new album is coming out in a few weeks and features the super catchy song “Laugh Til i Cry.”

[READ: August 22, 2015] The Pork Roll Cookbook

I saw this book at the library and had to check it out.  I love pork roll, it’s a treat that my father loved and which my family simply doesn’t eat often enough.  Of course, since we’re from North Jersey we called it Taylor Ham.

I wasn’t really interested in pork roll recipes because, well, you really only ever need to eat it with egg and cheese on a roll (or bagel).

But the beginning of the book gives a fascinating history of this local delicacy which barely makes it beyond the New Jersey border. (more…)

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aug2013SOUNDTRACK: THE FRONT BOTTOMS-Tiny Desk Concert #297 (August 19, 2013).

frontbotI really enjoyed The Front Bottoms’ “Au Revoir” and was pretty excited to see they had a Tiny Desk Concert.  After watching this, I’m very curious to see what they do in a full band setting because their sound works very well in this stripped down fashion–with acoustic guitars, penny whistle and muted trumpet (!).

Lead singer, Brian Sella, reminds me a lot of Mike Doughty in his speaky/singing way (especially on “Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It”–although less speaky than Doughty or Cake–there’s just something about his delivery that puts me in mind of them.

He’s also always got a smirk on his face, which makes me like them more.

I’m torn between wondering if they’re a novelty band that I wouldn’t listen to more than a few times or a cool alternative band whose idiosyncrasies only get better with each listen.  I love the way “Twin Size Mattress” has little elements (like the tambourine moment–and the “no fucking way moment) which elevate it above some of the seemingly sillier songs.  Not to mention the lyrics are really good in the song.  Indeed, even though the lyrics are funny, they are often very clever, too.

I really enjoyed all four songs in this set and I have listened to it many times now.  “Au Revoir (Adios)” sounds great.  All four songs comes from their new album Talon of the Hawk.  And the more I listen the more I’m convincing myself to jut get the damned album.

[READ: September 6, 2013] “Gaboxadol”

This essay was actually hard for me to read.  That’s because the first half was all scientific chemistry talk and I really got lost–I don’t really know what GABA receptors are or do and I didn’t even really understand what he was talking about what Stepan Krasheninnikov did in 1755.  And I worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy this at all.

But soon Morris brought it back to an area that dummies like me can enjoy   He talks about the history of Gaboxadol a drug created by Dutch chemist Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen in 1977.  The first time Povl took it (self-experiment was very common until recently) he said it made him feel like he had just had three beers–a very comfortable feeling.

But Gaboxadol never found its niche.  Povl knew it had relaxing qualities but he couldn’t specifically diagnose who would best benefit from it.  It was tried on the mentally ill.  The desired effects did not really arrive–but the side effects made people feel sleepy.  Then it was tried as an analgesic for cancer patients.  It relieved some pain but it made everyone sleepy (you see where this is gong, right?).  It was then tested on patients with anxiety disorder, but the side effects were more powerful that the anti-anxiety effects.

So then the drug was just shelved (were people just less experimental back then?)  It wasn’t until 1996 that Marike Lancel a somnologist in Munich read the research and decided to try it as a sleeping aid.  She realized that Gaboxadol assisted sleep and also had none of the side effects that Ambien had (apparently terrible insomnia once you stop taking it–so I’ll not be taking that, thank you very much).  Merck bought the rights to Gaboxadol for $270 million. (more…)

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