Hit The Floor Live Review: The Bronx Tour Featuring Axis Of
You know, there are some gigs that you go to that just totally encapsulate and justify everything that makes the band you set out to go to so special. Tonight is one of those nights.
LA punk rock hellraisers The Bronx are in London town, and this is the second night of two sold out shows. Upon early arrival, Hit The Floor Magazine had a chance to catch up with The Bronx in an interview (keep your eyes peeled for this coming very soon) and we were told about the chaos which was the night before. We were told that there were barriers in front of the stage due to concert promoter regulations, but they caused more problems than it did solutions due to constant crowdsurfers and mosh pits. So with a little reasoning and sweet talk, tonight there will be no barriers. There will be no crowd divide. This is going to be a no holds barred affair of pure chaos.
The last time The Bronx were in a venue this small with no barriers in London was back on Friday 13th October in 2006, where they absolutely decimated the Camden Barfly to a capacity of 180 people. To say it was a riotous affair is a complete understatement. The ceiling got partially ripped down, drinks and bodies were flying through the air, the PA system was being crowdsurfed, some guy cracked his eye socket so hard that his eyeball was hanging out… and he was STILL moshing. So it is suffice to say that if you have ever had the chance to see The Bronx live, you know what is about to go down. If you have not, then brace yourself for one riotous night of good times and sheer madness.
First up are Axis Of, the best kept secret in Northern Ireland. Producing a fine cacaphony of raw as hell guitars, thundering drums and terrific vocals which are reminiscent of the likes of yourcodenameis:milo and Pulled Apart By Horses, the band sear through a great set to a audience of curious onlookers who seem to be really getting in to them and appreciating what Axis Of are all about. Give it until next year, and these guys will be taking the festival circuits by storm. Keep your beady eyes on this lot.
Next up are Canadian exports Single Mothers. One of the most interesting things about this band visually is that they have a very British fashion about them. Dressed smart casually and looking like they might even belong to the London mod scene, never let the looks fool you… let the music do the talking! These guys are a terrific balance somewhere between Fucked Up and The Dead Formats. The fact that the vocalist is still managing to get them raw notes when accordingly he just had a tooth taken out, just makes it all the more impressive. Their live sound is a lot cleaner than when listening to them on their bandpage, but regardless they yet capture the attention of the curious audience and do not fail to please.
But what comes next is something that defies words. A sense of uplifting unity and passion that cannot be verbally explained to the vast degree, but there is an atmosphere that is almost at a euphoric peak. The looks in people’s eyes are that of a sense that they know exactly what is about to go down. Nearly everyone looking at each other smiling, nodding, hugging, and giving handshakes that they are all one. Everyone in this very room no matter how far they have come and travelled, are all family for one night only. That wonderful feeling that everyone is in good stead, and no one is going to leave here tonight without a great memory of tonight, or a smile on their face.
The lights go out, and enter Monsieurs Caughtran, Ford, Horne, Vik, and Magers. The Bronx have arrived. Arriving to a celebration of cheers and hollers, they waste no time and kick start the party with their new album opener "The Unholy Hand". Literally from the get go the floor is amass with a flurry of crazy dancing and bodies smashing in to each other. It is only when they go straight in to "White Tar" just after, that things start to go absolutely bonkers. Matt Caughtran informs the crowd of the crowd barrier situation what occurred the previous night, and asks the audience to show some love to the Underworld’s apprehensive yet weary stage guards. In fact an extra special mention goes to these guys purely for the astronomical ratio of stagedivers and crowdsurfers they had to endure. It is only when Caughtran says that he orders the crowd to be diving off the stage before they break in to "Shitty Future" that the bar has been set for the rest of the night.
Through the rest of the evening, there are some absolutely pivotal moments as to why this band are so loved and respected. With all the sheer chaos that is happening on and off the stage on a level which only other bands would sell their souls to capture the essence and energy of, there is a lot more to admire. The band are well spoken, polite and absolute gentlemen to everyone in attendance. Grateful for everyone being in that room, and repeatedly thanks them all for coming out. They play like their lives depend on it, and the crowd feeds off the primal nature as to what The Bronx projects in the live setting. They sound just like they do on the record… raw, abrasive, and brimming with adrenaline fuelled soul. This is why they are so special to watch live, because they EXCEED the expectations.
It is only halfway through the night after ‘Knifeman‘ that everyone realizes that it is actually a rather special night, as Matt Caughtran announces that it is his 34th birthday! There are at least 3 ‘Happy Birthday’ singalongs tonight, as well as a token onstage gesture from his bandmates with the offering of a bottle of champagne (which is sprayed in to the audience and over Matt’s head) and a birthday cake with the words ‘Happy Birthday Desert Storm’, which ended up being decimated by the audience as well as Caughtran!
The night progresses in to a drunken and rowdy chorus of singalongs to ‘White Guilt‘, a full on venue wrecker during ‘They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)‘ which sees Caughtran covering every part of the venue with a passionate yet baying crowd screaming every single word back at him, and stagedivers flying left right and centre. Even to the point there is a man dressed in a crash helmet, bulletproof vest, and excess padding all over with a piece of clothing on his back saying ‘Pit Dude’.
The night quintessentially comes to a spine-shattering end with the now totally out of control crowd going batshit mental to ‘History’s Stranglers‘. Onlookers from backstage and the balcony watching on in absolute disbelief and awe, the stage guards wishing they were rather at home listening to Megadeth on their headphones because they been worked to their absolute limit, and just every single person on that floor projecting every last bit of energy they have for these last few moments.
So after all is said and done, the lights go up to a rapturous ovation. The floor is littered with empty beer cups, phones, shoes, and teeth (we kid you not). Our photographer is dripping with sweat and literally speechless for a prolonged duration of time due to the overwhelming energy projected by this passionate audience, and then members of The Bronx come back down to personally thank all those who are trying to catch their breath and find their belongings for coming out and wishing everyone well on their journey home.
Tonight was one of the more life-affirming gigs which makes you forget about all your problems for a handful of hours. The Bronx were the ultimate party hosts, with their lethal injection of hardcore punk glazed rock and roll, to which every single person in here tonight connected to. The reception for their new material which was aired tonight including a particularly well received "Pilot Light" and "Ribcage" sounds even better live than it does on record. It was one of those moments where it was humbling to see so many people singing back the lyrics to fresh new songs and giving the new material justice in the live environment through the medium of raw energy.
If you were one of the lucky people to be at the Camden Underworld on this very night, you know just how special of a night it was. In fact it was not just your regular punk rock show, it was a celebration.
Once again, we also rediscover just why The Bronx are one of the most important and cherished rock bands in music today. Utterly astounding.
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