The bands:Sean from Andrew Jackson Jihad
The Front Bottoms
The venue:Mac's Bar, Lansing MI
I first heard the Front Bottoms last fall. "Maps" was playing on the Impact (Michigan State's fan-freaking-tastic radio station) and darn if it's not a catchy tune. I threw a few more of their songs into heavy rotation. When I heard they'd be in Lansing of all places I was in for sure.
I'd never been to Mac's. Despite having driven by it a billion times, I didn't even know where it was. But it was easy to find, relatively easy to park. It'd have been easier if I'd waited to park until after they announced the show was sold out and people started to leave. Thankfully, I am all about being prepared, and had had my ticket for ages
By the time I got in, Sean from Andrew Jackson Jihad was mid-set and the place was packed. I didn't know who he was but he sounded really familiar. I liked his stuff a lot. Great, sometimes bizarre lyrics and a unique vocal style. When he announced at the end of his set who he was, the familiarity finally made sense. I'm not a huge AJJ fan but I know one of their songs, and like it quite a bit, so that was cool.
Small Parks was up next. I'd never heard of them, but apparently they're local. They put on a good show and they sounded alright. I can't say I was blown away but I'd be pleased if we crossed paths again.
Front Bottoms were everything I hoped they'd be. The crowd was singing along, the band was awesome. They played most of my favorite songs right off the bat and they sounded awesome. I don't know which was the best. "The Beers", maybe. "Maps" is up there, obviously. But then there's "Rhode Island" and "Flashlight"... I really just can't say.
They encouraged people to stay for Cheap Girls, which I found surprising because I thought most people would have been there for Cheap Girls since they're from Lansing and I've heard quite a few people talk them up but the place kind of cleared out after the Front Bottoms. I stuck around for awhile out of curiosity, mostly because I'd missed their set at Common Ground. I understand why people like them; they're good. But in the end, they didn't really do it for me.
Mac's isn't my favorite venue for a super crowded show. It was about ten thousand degrees and too crowded to be comfortable. That being said, they have great bands, the sound was good and they serve Strongbow so I won't write them off just because I wasn't prepared for the space. I will be next time.