I’ve never been a huge fan of the folk-rock scene. I don’t have any particular beef with it, it just wasn’t my style. I had seen a lot of praise regarding The Front Bottoms, The Wild and You Blew It!, a few of the rising bands in that genre; when I got an offer to cover the show on their new tour together at Club Dada in Dallas, I had to take it because I give everyone a chance, and they deserved it (boy, did they deserve it). Both of these stellar bands are well ahead of their genre, and the experience delivered that night was indicative.
One of the cool things about this was that it was a small tour package, so the shorter lineup made the vibe much more relaxed than some other shows. It seemed that the pre-production going into the show was much less intense and more fun. I unfortunately arrived at the show late after the venue had trouble getting people in on time, so I missed The Wild, but from what I could hear outside, they were really solid. After settling down with a couple drinks, You Blew It! took the stage and went straight into their set. Their type of music, being more technical [or instrumental] compared to TFB, was welcomed and the crowd seemed to jam right away.
The band played primarily off of a couple Topshelf Records releases, Grow Up, Dude and the brand new Keep Doing What You’re Doing. I had checked them out only a couple hours prior to the show, and though solid, nothing particularly stood out to me. The band fits in a very comfortable niche, certainly not bad and enjoyable. The great thing is, there is no weak link in the band. Their performance wasn’t inhibited by anyone; instrumentation was on point and the vocals came through well. The music was consistently jammy, and very sing-along. “Pinball House” and “Award of the Year Award” were rambunctious numbers, while slow jam “The Fifties” was very melodic, slow and tasteful. Overall, I certainly was surprised at the quality of their live show, and it didn’t stop there.
When The Front Bottoms finally came out, the crowd flipped; but from my prior understanding of their hype, I should have expected that. Opening with the fluorescent “Skeleton”, a straightforward but engaging track, the sing-along started and basically didn’t stop until the show was over. The guys are primarily a two-piece band, but joined by musicians Tom Warren and Ciaran O’Donnell, as well as a parade of balloons, a giant backdrop, and one of those inflatable flailing arm dudes, the group put on quite a show. They played primarily off of their two main releases, Talon of the Hawk and their self-titled record. Instrumentally, it was extremely catchy and simple; they have a knack for hooks and the crowd sang every word.
Having never listened to them before that night, I was turned into a fan. The group chant during the poignant line of “Twin Sized Mattress” (“Hey man, I love you but no fucking way”) was likely heard down the street and stood out among many great moments of their set, along with “Father”, “Backflip”, and “The Beers” to name a few. Ultimately, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the show – considering I wasn’t all that familiar with/accustomed to the genre – but those kinds of shows are always the best ones. The kinds of shows where you become a believer in something new are the ones worth spending the money for. For such a simple tour package, there was a lot delivered. Here’s to the vibes of that evening – keep on.