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The Front Bottoms share tour experience, musical journey

Despite touring in Europe and across the country, members of The Front Bottoms, an indie-folk-punk band with roots in Bergen County, can all agree the greatest place on Earth is right here in New Jersey.

Composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Brian Sella, drummer Matt Uychich, bassist Tom Warren and Ciaran O’Donnel on the keys, trumpet and guitar, the band headlined the Rutgers University Programming Association’s “Fall Kickoff Concert” at the Livingston Student Center Multipurpose Room, following artists Eagle Daddy and Ampersand.

Though The Front Bottoms have rarely performed basement shows since first starting out, their performances in venues of ranging size remain intimate and consistently bring an energy that pulses through the crowd.

The band goes into performances with a positive mindset in hopes the audience will pick up on their energy. During Friday’s show, the bond that formed between the band and fans was, without a doubt, strong.

The set design included three large blow-up letters, TFB for The Front Bottoms, which were arranged out of order. Welcoming the band onto the stage, the audience chanted “BFT! BFT!”

The Front Bottom’s distinct sound with unique add-ins fueled the energy in the crowd. Memorable, relatable lyrics college students could grab on to brought the energy to an even greater level.

From the first beat of their opening song, “Skeleton,” the crowd erupted, pumping their fists and screaming the lyrics, as several people surfed over. The crowd’s enthusiasm and involvement remained at a peak through every song.

While on stage, the band interacted as intimately as possible with the audience, making sure to relate to what they were thinking.

The band closed with “Twin Size Mattress,” a song that shows off the distinct style and sound that separates them from surrounding bands. It embodies what makes them special and what helped them on their continuous upward climb toward success.

The band has recently garnered more attention than groups that inspired them, such as Bright Eyes and Brand New.

“When people come to the shows and flip out … this is amazing. It feels worth it,” Sella said. “To play with bands like Say Anything and Brand New, bands that we grew up on and inspired me personally … it’s incredible.”

Sella remembered their first show together at Oswego. On the first second of the first song, “Mountain,” Sella strummed the wrong chord and was off track for the rest of the song.

Since then, it seems the group has nearly perfected their stage performance and has created an experience unlike any other, complete with inflatable wacky waving tube men, balloons, tambourines and genuinely good vibes.

“Whenever I listened to music as a young thing, even now, it was like an escape for me to put on a song and listen to it over and over again. … So I hope that I can, or we can, give that to somebody else,” Sella said.

Regardless of who you are or what you’re interested in, there is a Front Bottoms song for everyone. Their endearing, real and genuine lyrics convey universal feelings that make it easy for people to relate to and fall in love with their songs.

Their dynamic, creative performance during their set at the RUPA “Fall Kickoff Concert,” which contained a superb variety of old and new songs, earns five stars.

This article originally appeared in print on September 18, 2014.

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