Pop punk isn’t generally my scene, but as is true with most concerts, being surrounded by throngs of teenagers screaming lyrics along with the lead singer kind of makes you love the music too. The Front Bottoms played Slim’s this week, with a line of excitedly chattering, hoodied and flanneled fans wrapped around the block.

Frontman Brian Sella stuck to his acoustic guitar for the entire show, leading the sweaty mosh pit through every chorus with such typical pop punk style – alarmingly specific and verbose lyrics, and a crisp voice nearly cracking with adolescent angst. Clearly aware of how much his crowd adored him, Sella expressed his appreciation with heartfelt gratitude and a few sardonic “shut up”‘s directed at rowdy audience members.

As a college band formed in New Jersey by Sella and drummer Mathew Uychich, TFB have grown their small tours into a cult following. Most of their appeal to the teenagers present at their shows seems to come from the incredible vulnerability Sella puts forth so readily. He not only admits to but validates adolescent fears and feelings we’re meant to feel shame for. The extremes of teenage emotions written out as “when I am sad, oh god I’m sad, but when I’m happy, oh god I’m happy,” the self-pity and -sabotage of “I’m gonna get on my knees would you kick me in the face please,” or the infatuation bordering on subservience in “I would sleep better on your floor than I could ever in my bed” are just a few examples. As my friend James puts it, “Brian died for our sins.”

Check out the rest of The Front Bottoms’ tour here.

Article by Kavitha George

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