Live Review: The Front Bottoms + The Hard Aches + Alex The Kid – Amplifier Bar, Perth (20.01.17)

I never feel more surrounded by familial like elation than in the throes of an indie punk rock crowd and Friday night was no exception. Starting off their headline tour in Perth, their first Australian show in two years, The Front Bottoms brought in a horde of dedicated fans, ready to jump around to that cheer filled angst all night. Backed up by Alex The Kid and The Hard Aches it was a lineup that had the front rows more packed than usual.

Arriving in time to catch the last of Alex The Kid’s sweaty finale, I was surprised to see the stage room with so many people this early, but it gave off a great atmosphere to see the venue this pumped after the first band.

The Hard Aches from Adelaide brought a wall of sound for a duo, delivering real honest lyricism over heavy anthemic melodies.  Introducing new track “Self Destruction” for the first time, the fan vibe only grew stronger with punters jumping on shoulders to fist pump along to each song.  Frontman Ben David seamlessly filling in the crowd conversation declaring “We hate this song, but we love all of you”, before introducing “St Helens” as the song your Mum probably likes.

During the interval the majority of the crowd didn’t move, waiting diligently for those centre stage positions, everyone buzzing as we reminisced on whether we’d seen the headliners before, or that time someone went crowd surfing.  The Front Bottoms arrived on stage and all the anticipation erupted right away as they broke into “Skeleton” and “Tattooed Tears” from their album Talon of the Hawk, the front rows leaping around in mildly controlled excitement.  “Maps” and “The Plan (Fuck Jobs)” took us further across the discography without losing any of the momentum.  The infatuating light clear in everyone’s eyes as we bounced to every guitar hook, threw our arms to the upbeat percussion or just melted under the trumpet mastery of keyboardist/guitarist Ciaran O’Donnell.

By the time “Peach” and “Au Revoir” were bringing in the halfway mark of the setlist, the venue had fully evolved into a sea of crowd surfing and blind sing along as fans poured their hearts into the bands quiet charisma.  The air con was nowhere to be felt but no one cared, not even Frontman Brian Sella snapping a guitar strong slowed the show, though he did voice his regret at wearing a now see through white t-shirt.  “Swimming Pool” saw the whole venue jumping together, giving that emotional punch we were all there for while “Jim Bogart” from their Rose EP had the floor belting out the chorus lines of the absent female vocalist.

Playing along to the fake going off stage before the encore for all of a second before returning to their instruments The Front Bottoms held out “Twin Sized Mattress” for the well deserved finale.  The melancholic guitar chords ringing out before building up to a crescendo of tambourine induced defiance, the final verse crashing out fantastically.  

There’s something so genuine about the genre, the message of unabashed certainty that you’ll fail but keep marching on anyway that brings out the best in fans.  The balance of upbeat instrumental with Sella’s endearing vocals that becomes hauntingly optimistic leaving you sweaty, happy, and wondering where that hour went.