"The three guys, Niall, Ewan and Ethan, really let rip on stage and created a glorious, melodic, hardcore racket which went down well..."
Saturday night in Glasgow, what better thing to do than nip along to The Garage to see possibly the finest hardcore band on the planet ? On entering the hall just after the doors opened though I was beginning to think perhaps I was alone in this thought as the hall was decidedly empty. I needn’t have worried though as by the time first band of the night, Axis Of, kicked off, the crowd had begun to gather.
The incomers were met by the sound of three Irishmen rocking hard and giving their all. Axis Of have been around for a couple of years and have just released a new album, ‘Finding St Kilda’, which provided the basis for tonight’s set. The three guys, Niall, Ewan and Ethan, really let rip on stage and created a glorious, melodic, hardcore racket which went down well with the gathering crowds. The band put in a very physical performance onstage and were a hoot to watch. Their 30 minute slot went quickly and they walked off to well deserved cheers, a band to catch again I think.
Next up were Canadian rockers, Single Mothers. The five piece from London, Ontario, wandered onstage all dressed in black jeans and black t-shirts and launched into their opening track. Again hardcore punk was the order of the day but two things became apparent very quickly, the first was that the band take themselves very seriously and the second was that frontman Drew Thomson had had a few. Single Mothers brand of hardcore is a fairly tuneless affair which after Axis Of was a bit of an anti-climax, the band’s stage persona also seems a bit false and forced. I never really warmed to the guys and the reaction at the end of the set suggested I was not alone in this thought.
The night before this gig I sat and watched the footage on the news of the devastation that had been wrought on a Russian town from the sonic boom of a passing meteor. After The Bronx set tonight The Garage was in a similar state. The band live are an unstoppable, natural force that everyone should witness at least once. There are no airs or graces with these guys, they all set up their own gear just before the show and take to the stage with little fuss.
The set kicked off with "The Unholy Hand", the opening track from the band’s new album, ‘The Bronx IV’, and the crowd went suitably mental. "White Tar" followed with frontman Matt Caughthran whipping up the crowd, bouncing around the stage like a kangaroo on speed. Matt is not one for sticking to the stage for long though and jumped the barrier into the crowd for the next number, "Shitty Future". It never ceases to amaze me how he can bark out the vocals to a song whilst in the middle of the pit or being passed bodily overhead to the front of the stage by the crowd, never missing a beat.
The rest of the band were on fire on stage. The twin guitar work of Joby and Ken was intense and melodic in equal measure whilst the rhythm section of Brad and Jorma provided a solid, driving bassline. The stage though belonged to Matt who held court and preached to the faithful between songs. By the time we reached the song "Six Days A Week" the crowd were rabid and were further pushed to surf and stage dive when Matt declared himself "Head of Security" and joined The Garage bouncers at the barrier helping to pull guys and girls over, again he never missed a beat, who says that guys can’t multi-task!
The set was a good balance of old and new with the 1,2 ,3 of "White Guilt", "Ribcage" and "They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)" proving particularly spectacular. Matt then announced that they had two tracks left, the band don’t do encores as such they just keep the pace and momentum going, and rounded off the set with "Heart Attack America" and the brutal "History’s Stranglers".
The Bronx once again proved themselves to be one of the best live bands on the planet and the exiting sweaty masses were testament to that fact. This was a stunning display of hardcore at its finest with a soundtrack that is both socially aware and hard hitting, but that will have you humming the hooky choruses all the way home. Live music doesn’t get much better than this!
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