Show Recap: The Front Bottoms and Basement, Live In Detroit

photos by Ciara Glagola, show recap written by Tyler Klebba

“You Are My Clock,
Keep Me On Time;
You Are My Angel,
You Are My Crime;
I’ll Serve This Sentence
The Rest Of My Life”Peach, by The Front Bottoms.

I’ll admit; it was sort of hard to see that day, when it was the bleak, dark skyline drenched above us. Past what was the night, was like literally the night. If you tracked with any of that, whatsoever, you ended up at the same conclusion as me; The Front Bottoms, Basement, and The Bad Bad Hats as well for that matter, all absolutely killed it at the Fillmore in Detroit, respectively speaking.

Now, as Front Bottom-front-man, Brian Sella, mentioned, the October rain showers were an unparalleled background on the night that concertgoers braved the city to show up at the Fillmore. It was almost euphoric; my mile and a half walks from the Greektown Casino toll-free parking garage to the venue, and then of course there and back-again afterward. The weather was just singing in perfect harmony with everything around it. By now, I’m sure, you’ve dismissed my claims as being emboldened or possibly hyperbolic, but with the utmost sincerity I confess that The Front Bottoms left me in awe.

Many by early November will have seen the soon to be cult class, and Netflix Original, Mindhunter. Hopefully, those who partake will pick up on a keen concept only briefly mentioned by the show’s most profound sociologist, in my honest opinion. Debbie Mitford, played by Michigan’s own Hannah Gross (also known for her work in I Used to Be Darker & Take What You Can Carry), mentions it for the very first time in the dance club scene from Episode One where she first runs into FBI Agent Holden Ford. Ah yes, clever, a Salinger reference embedded in a main character, I’m certain that somewhere in South Philly, right now, Soupy is smiling and sipping a glass of decaffeinated chamomile. That is, of course, only if in fact he is still nailed to the X, brother. All joking aside, the two twenty-somethings exchange some wanderings and posits while posted up against an all too iconic club wall. That’s dirty, filthy even; but more than anything, it was paradise. Debbie brings up Emile Durkheim, and Ford pauses. Unsure about the topic, he inquires to Deb. Particularly here, and in various other brief mentioning’s throughout the show, the thought and theory of Collective Effervescence, is what Debbie Mitford is getting at.

Collective Effervescence is that inexplicable feeling you get in your fingertips and in the pit of your stomach; butterflies. That bubbly, eccentric feeling of awe and wonder that you never want to go away. The Tolkien bumper sticker with, “Not all who wander are lost”, embroidered across the rear window. That tickling feeling you get in the back of your heart when your grandmother tells you she’s been praying for you everyday since you’ve moved out on your own, not ten miles from home. The anything but dismal firework, almost Pynchon-esque feeling, of the inexplicable. The scientifically inaccurate, Facebook-mom-my-son-should-be-a-starter-pack, quoting some bullshit blog post about us being just the right distance away from the sun; but you could never say anything offensive, because she’s happy. When all the dots connect and you finally finish the puzzle, when it’s complete. You know, the goldfish that that Erica had for more than fourteen years and well into her college experience, getting married, and having three, beautiful kids. The feeling of a group working to get something done together, without the thought of personal gain or the “profit” looming above us. It’s pure, unadulterated, joy. The same feeling I felt when I saw the Front Bottoms for the first time at Clutch Cargos in Pontiac, while they were on tour with Say Anything and Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band. Before Clutch Cargos was a church, again.

I hope everyone gets to experience this some day, if you haven’t already. It’s that feeling of love. The feeling of being full on Thanksgiving morning, watching the Lions choke by another win for your grandfather who might not be around too much longer, but is finally loving like nobody is watching. It’s complex, and scattered about almost everywhere you look, but that’s what’s beautiful about it. It’s so authentic. All the pictures and videos we could try and show you will do no justice. The Front Bottoms are only five or six dates into their tour with Basement, go and see them. Make it happen. Sell some old t-shirts, or pick up an extra shift at the restaurant, but make it happen. Plain and simple, more so, it would be naïve to think it anything other than feasible.

The Front Bottoms, lyrically (at least within the emo/indie-sphere), rank among the greats in my head. Jerry Garcia, Matt Thiessen/Hoopes, Max Bemis, Julien Baker, David Bazan, Sufjan Stevens, Jack White, Evan Weiss, Andrew Koji Shiraki, Halyley Williams, the list could go on and on, but one thing this struggling scene seems to be dodging lately is poor lyricists. Quite contrarily, Sella sits himself amongst those who manage to captivate audiences attention long enough to capture their hearts via poetry and prose. It’s astounding.

Basement is no joke either. Good friend now, greater role model years ago, Alex Henery, guitarist, vocalist, & old mate, was hospitable per the usual. Greeting us with the warmest of hugs and smile from ear to ear, Al has always managed to bring my blurring circumstances, worries, and anxieties into focus. His calming nerve translates into his songwriting, and Basement prospers because of it.

On their latest release, a deluxe reissue of their third studio album, Promise Everything, out now via Fueled By Ramen, and previously via independent-record label Run For Cover Records, Basement clashes their 90s post-grunge symphonies with melodic riffs reminiscent of Pedro the Lion, and early Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar tones. Once again, lyrically, thanks to Henery and perhaps more primarily, lead vocalist/song-writer Andrew Fisher, Basement has a touch that few others acts can compete with these days. The blend of poetry woven together with odd entanglements seemingly cut and pasted from a decade’s old junior high school journal. Whatever the combination or equation may be, Basement have masterfully crafted a studio record that skillfully matches their ingenuous live performances.

Make sure that when you’re making it out to one of the upcoming your dates, you come early for Basement (pay close attention to their tracks Pine, Whole, Crickets Throw Their Voices, and Earl Grey. Those are my personal faves/recommendations) and stay all the way through The Front Bottoms (pay close attention to their tracks The Beers, Peace Sign, Peach, Maps and West Virginia. Those are my personal faves/recommendations). You’re sure to receive a few things: a secondhand-concert high unlike the outdoor festival a la Coachella, that little something we mentioned earlier collective effervescence, and an entrancing, 90-minute set. Make sure you make an effort to get to know those that you stand beside you on nights like these. Look out for one another, and help foster a more enriched learning experience for all those in our communities. I look forward to the remaining fall days we have this year, as antagonizing this second half of 2017 has felt, it has also been equally well worth it. Given all the incredible memories I’ve been able to witness. I hope the world is echoing this to each of you. Catch the wave, and stay whole.

All the best,

Tyler C. Klebba

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