As they share the stage with one of the many influential punk acts of the nineties and 00’s, Los Angeles-based hardcore punk (and occasional mariachi) quintet The Bronx, made their epic return with Pennywise for a massive tour across the country. As the Californian punk rockers take their gigs all across the country, they managed to get some spare time to perform an exclusive headline show of their own in Melbourne, at the Corner Hotel for one night, with the support of Sydney up-and-comers Bare Bones.
Taking an hour for Bare Bones to come onstage after doors open, the venue took a while for the number of patrons to build up, considering that the gig managed to sell out. By the time they hit the stage, Bare Bones went straight at it with full force, opening with Road Warrior. Coming fresh off their life changing opportunity to support Stone Sour on their east coast tour, the Sydney representatives still came with that invigorating drive that flows through their veins. For the next hour, Bare Bones brought and executed many bangers such as Thick As Thieves, Ravensburg, Pipeline Fever, Snake City, Dead Man Walking, Strange Brew, and a whole lot more. While many of the attendees weren’t all that keen on getting up to the front of the barrier, Bare Bones still received a great reception from the Melbournian crowd throughout their hour of power. Having seen them a handful of times this year, I’m happy to say that they’ve definitely upped their game and persona as musicians and live performers.
Even though I was excited to finally get the chance to see The Bronx in the flesh, I really wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of what a pure punk rock show is about. By the time they kicked things off with Sore Throat, it wasn’t quite close to energising. If anything, that’s a bit of an understatement. All there was from beginning to end, was vitality and organic quality to the sound and charisma of The Bronx‘s performance. With a frontman as deranged and animated as Matt Caughthran, he and the rest of the five-piece know how the hell to orchestrate a crowd and do it right all the way through! Considering that Matt announced that they had been touring across the US, he stated to the fellow Melbournians in the pit that they were excited to get the Aussie tour underway, because he “knew this was going to be so much fun”.
No matter the track, whether it be something as new as Night Drop At The Glue Factory and Youth Wasted, or a classic anthem like Knifeman or Six Days a Week, you can sure as hell bet that The Bronx had everyone in the entire capacity of the Corner Hotel going beyond the peak of insanity. Matt would eventually, throw himself straight into the pit, and allow everyone home to circle around him, and scream abrasively into the mic with him. Hell, he would even invite crowdsurfers up onstage to party with the band and stage dive, when the chance came. But, probably one of the more highlighted moments of the evening took place during Knifeman, where Matt got himself into the very centre of the Corner Hotel’s pit, and sang with everyone in his surroundings.
Considering that I had one hell of a week during The Dillinger Escape Plan’s final Australian tour, going around the country to see them, I never thought that I would immediately be witnessing another band that would land in my top five live shows of the year, already! It goes to show that even though a professional image onstage is important, The Bronx prove that you can take the “professionalism” and turn it into a more gratifying, fun and convivial experience for everyone to witness and be a part of. If you haven’t been to a Bronx show yet, to say that you have no idea what you’re missing out on, wouldn’t even come close to summing up everything that takes place at one of the best punk rock shows you’ll ever get to catch with your own eyes.