The Front Bottoms + Allison Weiss @ The Institute, Birmingham – Saturday 21st September 2013


My mother is inherently nosey and whenever I’m off to a gig will always ask who I’m going to see, for obvious reasons I was joyfully awaiting that question this evening. “Where do they get these names!?” she exclaims. Hilarious band name aside, suffice to say I had been looking forward to this particular gig for a while, there’s nothing better than an evening of heartfelt music and huge sing-alongs to put a smile on your face.


Now I’ve heard of Allison Weiss but never quite got round to checking out her music so I was intrigued to find out what she was like. I was not disappointed, taking to the stage with just and acoustic guitar she quickly won over the crowd down the front. Its her first time in the UK and although its got to be pretty nerve racking being up there on your own she takes it in her stride. Allison interacts with crowd so well and her heartfelt and honest songs about ‘feelings’ go down well.


The Front Bottoms have well and truly gained momentum over the last year or so, no surprise really when they write such good music. Their songs are just made for singing along, catchy as hell and most of all the fun sometimes bordering on ridiculous lyrics. Kicking things off with ‘Skeleton’ The Front Bottoms start as they mean to go on the tempo is high, the beer is flowing and the crowd laps it all up. Brain Sella is an effortlessly charismatic front man, his grin lights up his face as he swigs casually from a beer bottle between songs, chatting to the crowd. Talk turns to football and an apparently heavy night last night in Nottingham, which leads to him momentarily forgetting his favourite football team – the almighty *cough* Millwall.


The majority of songs in the set are taken from their brilliant new album ‘Talon of the Hawk’ and they go down a treat especially the tongue in cheek ‘Au Reviour (Adios) with some quality tambourine action from the lovely Allison Weiss. The last half of the set takes it though, the intro to ‘The Beers’ sees drummer Mathew beating the living daylights out of his kit and when Brian comes in with his acoustic and vocals the whole room erupts and even the guys at the back at the room can’t help but to dance. The so wrong but right ‘Father’ sounds great and ‘Swimming Pool’ slows things down if just for a moment, the whole crowd once again hanging on every word.
They are running out of time and they know it, they only have time for two, but sometimes curfews are meant to be broken as they give us a triple header of ‘Flashlight’, ‘Maps’ and the majestic ‘Twin Size Mattress’, which ends the show perfectly starting off slow before ending with a mess of guitars and drums. It was the one last chance for the crowd to sing along, the last chance to dance before all to quickly the night is over, but the smiles around the room just go to show what a brilliant live show The Front Bottoms put on.

Review by Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Photos by Andrew Watson

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