Back in the summer of 2002, my buddy Lirette and I spent a lot of time driving around Southern Minnesota, listening to the Refreshments’ genius 1996 brat punk record Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. It’s the perfect summer record, and while that summer was notable for about 17,006 other reasons, some of my best memories are, say, of the time we drove to Red Wing listening to “Banditos” on repeat at 3 am.
So the first time I listened to NJ rockers the Front Bottoms’ third LP, Talon of the Hawk, within 30 seconds of the opening track, “Au Revoir (Adios)”, I had decided that this record was the logical and worthy successor to my beloved Fizzy Fuzzy. They were great last night at the 506; different from what I expected live — I expected a bit of wild punk flinging themselves about, but they were very self-contained and funny and clearly talented, and deeply, deeply beloved to an underage crowd that made me feel every single minute of my 33 years. (If I had started early, many of these children could have been my children.) That, of course, didn’t stop me from enjoying the show — after three LPs, I think that the Front Bottoms are finding a crowd that they would have found more easily if they’d come up with the great brat punkers of my teenage years. It’s got that lovely early Blink-182 Refreshments Dookie-era Green Day tongue in cheek smarts to it, their songwriting, and also a cleverness (i can’t get past you / you are the cops / you are my student loans) that should really be appealing to both the kids who were at the show, and a crowd my age, who misses that kind of music.
The show really made me love the record ever more, and it also made me realize that I’m old and cranky and get off my lawn, you crazy kids. Between sets I stood around and thought about mortgages just to combat the youth in the room.
Then after the show I briefly contemplated getting Rolly to sneak me in the back door of the Cradle so I could get some shots of the Japandroids show, but instead I went home, because the Front Bottoms and all those kids who love them wore me out.
Photos are here, though there aren’t many; the thing about kids is that when they pack the 506, they pack it. I showed up too late to get a good spot. Recent shows with barriers and real pits have spoilt me.