The “pop-punk” genre is sometimes overshadowed by newer, trendier forms of music today, but the genre is making huge strides in its third decade, with fresh bands vying for an audience that is still very much thriving. One band that is fairly new to the genre is New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms. They are heading overseas today for what they refer to as their first “proper” European tour, traversing the U.K. and Europe with Pennsylvania’s The Menzingers.
The Front Bottoms is a pair of old friends, Brian Sella and Mat Uychich, who have been playing music together since they were 10 and 8 years old. After several years of playing together, the two musicians have developed a strong personal and musical chemistry. Sella sings and plays guitar while Uychich plays the drums; they noticeably balance each other out on and off stage, as evidenced in their live concert footage, interviews, and music videos.
“The Front Bottoms was always our number one thing, even when we were working at grocery stores and landscaping jobs, our main focus was this band. We would work enough to self-released two albums and a few EPs prior to last year’s record,” says Uychich. Uychich is referring to last fall’s self-titled debut on Bar/None Records. Although the album indeed fits into the pop-punk genre, it pushes boundaries with its horns, strings, melodica, hand claps, “whoa-oh”s, and quick-witted storytelling lyrics.
“I don’t know where our music should fit. I think it’s a good thing that it can float around the genres, and wherever it ends up is fine,” says Uychich.
“We definitely have a punk, sort of D.I.Y. attitude about things–the way we go about making the music, the way it is recorded, how we give it to people…the image…but when you are listening to the music, you’re like, ‘this is not punk,’ ” Sella said recently in an interview with absolutepunk.net.
Since the band has joined Bar/None they’ve toured with Dashboard Confessional and Say Anything–two acts that really helped thrust the pop-punk/emo-pop genres into popularity during the early 2000s. As much as the two bands must have influenced The Front Bottoms to some extent, Uychich asserts that they’ve learned the most through their own experiences. He explains, “There’s people who can help guide you but most of what we’ve learned about the music world comes from experiences and doing things yourself and learning from our mistakes.”
As mentioned, Sella and Uychich will be joining The Menzingers in Europe. They’ve already opened for the band for some U.S. shows, so the European tour will be a nice continuation of the bands’ combined energy that they brought to American audiences.
The Front Bottoms already have what seems to be a blossoming following in Europe. Spain’s Pablo Nieto who works for Garage Films loved the band so much that he asked to shoot the video for their song, “Maps.” The result was an incredibly viral video that managed to capture Williamsburg (Brooklyn), a Jersey farm, and some surprisingly fitting hand puppets (view the video below).
The band’s United Kingdom/European tour begins in Kingston on September 18 and travels through the rest of the U.K., Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. In mid-October the band will be back and continuing their tour in the U.S., including a New York CMJ show at Santos Party House and a gig at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas.
For now, here are the dates overseas:
18.09. - Kingston, United Kingdom – The Cricketers (headlining)
19.09. – Birmingham, United Kingdom - Hare and Hounds
20.09. – Manchester, United Kingdom - Moho Live
21.09. – Glasgow, United Kingdom – Captains Rest
22.09. – Leeds, United Kingdom – Cockpit 3
23.09. – Southampton, United Kingdom – Unit
24.09. – Bristol, United Kingdom – The Croft
25.09. – London, United Kingdom – The Borderline
26.09. – Brugge, Belgium – J H Thope
27.09. – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Winston
28.09. – Paris, France – Les Combustibles
29.09. – Cologne, Germany – MTC
30.09. – Siegen, Germany – Vortex
01.10. – Munster, Germany – Café Lorenz
02.10. – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopaeia
03.10. – Hannover, Germany – Chez Heinz
04.10. – Munich, Germany – Sunny Red
05.10. – Milan, Italy – Ligera
06.10. – Zurich, Switzerland – Eldorado
07.10. – Vienna, Austria – Arena 3 Raum Bar