Manchester Orchestra and The Front Bottoms are two groups many followed growing up. Few, however, thought their styles would match enough to collaborate. Both bands have been around for quite some time, though their recent work has been catching the ears of new fans. These groups have evolved through their recent performances and created a whole new creative outlook, all while sticking to their roots.
Many felt pleasant vibes all around as the front row of The Sylvee became jammed with dedicated fans eager to hear what these groups prepared for them. The Front Bottoms drew a younger crowd, and their fans got fired up when the lights dimmed before their set. The floor was sent into a frenzy when the first chord was played, and this energy did not dwindle at all for the next hour.
Lead vocalist Brian Sella brought an authentic, unique sound which enhanced the emotion woven through every song. The Front Bottoms are known for their wacky stage setups, but having a full bar on stage was definitely not expected. The crew and other accompanying musicians sipped their craft beer while admiring the band from what were arguably the best seats in the house.
The Front Bottoms’ music has a nostalgic feeling, while carrying the ability to transport listeners to a specific moment in time. The group proved they can do it all — from inducing a sing-along with the crowd during “Au Revoir (Adios)” to sparking a dance party with their most popular track “Twin Size Mattress.”
Manchester Orchestra did not fail to disappoint those who stayed for their set. They opened with bright strobes and red tones, followed by powerful chords that immediately drowned out the applause from the crowd. The entire space quickly filled with the authentic sound these musicians have been building upon. “Shake It Out” stood out from the night, especially when Andy Hull and Robert McDowell shared many moments dueling on their guitars. The light show paired well with the group’s compelling rock aesthetic that kept the audience intrigued all night.
Hull was in good spirits and enjoyed joking around with the crowd, even convincing some audience members he was a Wisconsin native. Hull played part of “Architect” in honor of Scott Hutchison, with a beautiful transition into their own “I Can Feel a Hot One.”
The pairing made for a night filled with talent. Even though both groups brought some melancholy sounds, the futuristic rock wave came alive through the crowd’s energy and connection with every musician on stage. Even thought it was a Wednesday night show, fans were engaged throughout the entire performance and shared their love for the artistry presented.
The performance set the bar high for The Front Bottoms and Manchester Orchestra, who will continue to expand their musical horizons on the rest of their tour into the new year.