with The Hard Aches, Alex The Kid
Amplifier Bar
Friday, January 20, 2017

If there is one thing that the Smith Street Band have done, it is that they have bought some cracking bands to Australia as their support acts. One of those is The Front Bottoms who kicked off their first headline tour down under at Amplifier Bar.

Kicking off the night were local five piece Alex The Kid. The young chaps from Geraldton haven’t taken to their country roots, instead opting for a brash punk rock. The effervescent tunes clock in at around the two minute mark as the band played songs from their Speak Up album.

The Hard Aches aren’t your typical punk band. Hailing from Adelaide, they manage to put together an energetic show despite only being a two piece of drums and guitar. With a foot steadily in the ‘emo’ camp, the duo wear their heart on their sleeve without scrimping on melody. Songs that have placed The Hard Aches on the radio served them well on the evening with Loser getting a firm thumbs up from those in attendance.

As their name would suggest, The Front Bottoms aren’t the type of band that are going to take themselves too seriously. To drive the point home, they opened with Skeleton, an instantly hummable song about getting too stoned and being too tall to fall asleep in the front seat. When not laughing at themselves through the foibles of youth, The Front Bottoms also put their hand to tunes about miserable romantic encounters like Tattooed Tears which was aired early.

The potty mouthed Help is unmistakably a power pop song with its sing along refrain and a synth line that would be at home in an eighties tune. Wingman, Ciaran O’Donnell would flesh the tunes out with keyboards and trumpet, but it was his tidy riff work on West Virginia that showed his real value to the band.

The crowd were packed in as close to the stage as they could get with bodies bouncing around in unison only breaking the symbiosis in order to support a crowd surfer from time to time. Brian Sella lambasted the heat through a cheshire grin, whilst questioning his decision to wear a white t-shirt for the night. The band leader specialises in songs about college romances gone wrong with the band being the musical equivalent to the American Pie films.

Pulling from material from throughout their catalogue didn’t perturb the punters as the majority in attendance sung along word for word. There was plenty of hugs, handshakes and fist pumping in the crowd amongst songs like Au Revoir (Adios), The Beers and crowd favourite Cough It Out.

The only self indulgent moment came during Swimming Pool where the song outstayed its welcome before the punchy Laugh Till I Cry restored the balance and Twelve Feet Deep continued to show their fresh faced appeal.

The most famous New Jersey export was to put on a flawless and unforgettable show a couple of days later, but the next generation certainly didn’t embarrass themselves with a sweaty and energetic performance that highlighted the joyous nature of rock.