“Bubble Machines and Cornet solos aren’t normally punk – but these guys made it work!”
Punk shows – especially American, pizza-in-the-tour-van, gotta-get-out-of-my-town punk shows – have a very special vibe. Things seems more authentic somehow, like the teen experience has been bottled and released like a pheromone onstage, like high production value has been rightfully and honorably forfeited in lieu of true human connection. The Front Bottoms, with their inflatable lettering and bubble machines serving as their only backdrop, definitely stayed true to that spirit.
That’s not to say there was anything smacking of the amatuer. Brian and the lads were on point, expertly mixing old gems with some of new album Back On Top’s best offerings, even gracefully bowing to the crowd’s request for 8Tracks’ favourite Swimming Pool. Even the jovial banter seemed smooth, from mock-outrage at the crowd’s inability to differentiate between a cornet and a trumpet, to the bemusement at the crowd’s incessant chanting of Yorkshire, to the glorious spectacle of Brian downing two bears just because it was requested in song form. As confirmed when he looked over the crowd and, seemingly in awe, remarked “there’s a lot of people here”, the band just seemed happy to be so warmly-received.