Last year when I attended SXSW as an underaged newbie, I thought I was going to see a bunch of awesome bands that I love and it's going to be awesome.
Then reality set in and I realized not only could I not get into any bars, but covering a music festival is a whole different beast. When you go to SXSW as press you have to see a lot of bands you don't necessarily know or would listen to in your down time because they're what people want to read about. As a fan of live music I am usually down for anything so I don't mind that at all, but it is always fun to see someone you actually care about are invested in as a fan.
This year I decided to treat myself to one personal show and I chose to see The Front Bottoms. The New Jersey duo have written some of my favorite barefoot dancing music. I had heard their live shows were something else so I decided to check them out.
The band played a handful of shows over the week but I opted for their 8 pm set at the Palm Door on March 14 so it wouldn't conflict with anything I should be covering. Since they were first on bill I didn't think they would have a good crowd. They were also weirdly out of place in the lineup of bands so I didn't have high hopes.
I was surprised to see that even the much older gentleman standing next to me was most definitely there for The Front Bottoms and the crowd was moving and singing along from the band's opening song.
The band's brand of "acoustic-indie-punk" (description stolen from their wikipedia page) was absolutely infectious live and singer Brian Sella's personal lyrics seem that much more genuine.
I couldn't help but smile at the couple in front of me that embraced and sang along to the band's track "Peach" as the girl tried to keep her boyfriend from spilling his beer on her head. It's not the most orthodox romantic moment, but then again, neither is the song so it seemed fitting.
From the hipsters scoffing behind me to the girl wearing overall shorts next to me, the crowd danced and yelled the lyrics to each song, often eliciting a smile from Sella.
Although Austin, our photo editor, scoffed at them when we accidentally saw them as the "house band" for the Chris Gethard show, I am glad I chose them as my one personal show. I would say it was most definitely worth it.