You can typically tell if it’s going to be a good night inside of First Avenue by how long the line of people stretches around the building outside, so I knew I was in for a good show as soon as the stars gracing the wall were within my line of sight. This time, the long line was standing in anticipation of some indie punk and folk vibes from a couple of East Coast performers.
First up was Kevin Devine from Brooklyn, New York, who is best known for his political and self-examination image and his time spent in the band Miracle of 86. More recently, Bad Timing Records in conjunction with Devinyl Records, has been putting out a series of splits with Kevin Devine called the Devinyl Splits. Each one sees Kevin Devine teamed up with a different artist, with the most recent being Outstretched & Never-Ending. While we weren’t offered the opportunity to hear the newest single, Devine put on a truly special performance that perfectly set the mood for the rest of the night.
Next up was Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey natives The Front Bottoms. With a set stage design containing a sort of bohemian urban look complete with couches for the band members to sit on during “down” times in their set, it was an interesting setup and one that piqued my interests almost immediately.
Signed to one of my favorite record labels, Fuled By Ramen, The Front Bottoms consist of Brian Sella, Mathew Uychich, and Tom Warren, but feature a multitude of other muscians while touring. Their style is described as a folk punk hybrid, but I prefer to call it “Mumford & Sons Go Grunge!”
Their setlist was broken up into three parts, broken down by performances from some of their EP’s and albums that have been released. The first section featured six songs from their 2014 EP Rose. Next up they took an opportunity to showcase their newest music, performing another string of six songs, this time from their 2018 EP Ann.
Finally, they blessed us with a performance of their entire 2017 album Going Grey. Throwing in a few bonus songs along they way, it was a truly special way to enjoy their music and made for a truly enjoyable experience. After a brief exit from the stage, they returned once again to play a four song encore, capped off with a performance of their wildly successful single “Twin Size Mattress” from 2013’s Talon Of The Hawk.
Although at times it felt like the heat inside the building was going to be unbearable, I, and the rest of the sold-out crowd felt a sense of joy and accomplishment when the show wrapped up. All-in-all, it was a wonderful night of indie/folk-punk/grungy-Mumford & Sons music that I would glady brave the heat to enjoy again.