Emo favorites The Front Bottoms performed in Reno at Cargo Concert Hall at Whitney Peak Hotel with supporting acts The Joy Formidable and Mobley.
The crowd lined up to enter while I was having a photo session hours before the show, around 4:30 p.m. The die-hards packed the brimming venue and were immediately enthusiastic and responsive to Mobley.
He was a one-man-band who jumped from instrument to instrument.
The Joy Formidable are a Welsh rock band fronted by Rhiannon Bryan. I’ve seen them a handful of times, sometimes at huge festivals, and they are always a spectacle and favorite.
When three-piece bands get it right, it’s fantastic. They leave nice pockets for their bandmates. Cream, Nirvana, Rush, Placebo… The Joy Formidable.
This was their first time performing in Reno since 2016.
“We are glad to share Welsh with other places,” Bryan said. “The Front Bottoms create such an eclectic evening.”
Rhydian Dafydd Davies plays bass and sings with Bryan. While attending elementary school together, they played against each other in a battle of the bands.
They slipped into “Gotta Feed My Dog” off their newest release “Into the Blue.” Bryan’s verses were whispered and delicate, but her stage presence and guitar work was pounding and aggressive.
I’m still coming down from a recent weekend where I saw Rammstein and Bonnie Raitt… separately, of course, and this powerhouse opener on a Monday night in Reno, Nevada contended. There’s definitely something special about a singer who can rip at lead guitar.
They finished with 2011 single “Whirring” and twisted it into an extra long, jammy, half-time, experimental ending. You’re supposed to leave some energy for the headliners, but they brought down the house.
The Front Bottoms are a happy mix of a lot of great things, an exposed, artistic procession.
Frontman Brian Sella is like a competent Tom DeLonge performing in the style of Pavement, Why? and Brand New.
Their four-piece group has great dynamics from slow, building verses to explosive choruses.
They started with “Be Nice to Me” and the crowd all sang in unison, the kiddos at the front bottom of the stage went nuts.
Another crowd favorite was “Vacation Town.” I get just a dash of They Might Be Giants’ silly straight-forwardness in this wonderful tune. Watch how I date myself continuously.
After an abundance of repetitive crowd appeals for “Flashlight” to be played, they didn’t play it.
“I called it in the beginning,” Sella said to his attentive crowd. “This would be the best stop on the tour. I was right.”
They played “Twelve Feet Deep” and, I swear to Christ, the amount of bubbles that shot out into the crowd made every single four-year-old’s birthday party look like a joke.
“We know how lucky we are to play music,” Sella said. “And to win $150 on the blackjack tables.”
What people in gambling towns love to talk about most is gambling. It’s a fact.
“If you run into me, don’t say anything,” Sella concluded.
“Fine”, we all responded.