"With a new album just released, it is clear that this is a band many tonight will be placing on their ones to watch list."
There’s a sense of anticipation in The Glasgow Garage from a collection of fans that encompasses everyone from old grizzled punk rockers to young NME readers who have read about how cool tonight’s band is. It’s an anticipation which is well deserve as tonight’s headliners, The Bronx, have been away for the last few years focusing on their mariachi side project, the inventively named 'Mariachi El Bronx'. However, with the release of their latest self-titled album they have returned to their hardcore punk rock routes and are setting out to return to what they do best, levelling venues across the world.
Up first at The Garage however is Axis Of, a Northern Irish punk band who are obviously out to impress, putting on an energetic display of punk rock fire. Their half-hardcore half-straight up punk sound is catchy and they quickly grab the attention of those that have arrived early to watch their performance, something they appear genuinely grateful for. With a new album just released, it is clear that this is a band many tonight will be placing on their ones to watch list. Another band that needs to be placed on that watch list are Canadian punks Single Mothers who are up next. With frontman Andrew Thomson, they have something special as he writhes around the stage and it is no surprise to see when he smiles that one of his front teeth is missing. Within seconds of him hitting the stage, you realise that this is someone you cannot take your eyes off because you might just miss him doing something mad.
Talking about frontmen you can’t take your eyes off, The Bronx have one of those themselves and Matt Caughthran is clearly in the mood tonight as he throws himself into every song and only waits minutes before clambering down into the audience, where he spends a large part of the gig. As he walks out into the crowd, he promises that it does not matter that they are only going to play for an hour, to make room for a club night, because he plans to level The Garage: something you begin to believe he might be able to pull off, as he personally leads the next pit. There are bodies everywhere with people throwing themselves on top of each other and finding themselves unable to stop moving to The Bronx’s ferocious hardcore assault. When Caughthran asks them to give The Bronx their bodies, security must be grinding their teeth as their job is made ten times harder by the waves that come flying over the barrier.
The Bronx are this generation’s Black Flag or Minor Threat. They are dirty, hardcore and underground. No matter how good they are on record, you will never truly understand them until you see them live. They sum up everything that is great about the underground punk scene and, in fact, Caughthran takes the time out of the set to thank the fans for following punk rock back into the underground where it belongs.
Everything comes to a head with the closing “History Stranglers” and “Heart Attack American” which is basically the equivalent of being punched repeatedly in the head by a train (in a good way of course) and leaves much of the venue having to peel themselves off the wall as the final chords ring out.
While they may only have played an hour, this was without a doubt a triumphant return for The Bronx. They still have that fire that brought them to the game to begin with and it is clear that the fan base has not been put off by their forays into strange and wonderful types of music. Although I doubt anyone tonight would be shouting for a Mariachi song.
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