The Bronx – O2 Academy Newcastle – 6/5/10

Posted on May 27, 2010

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It’s not often that a support band leaves me with a bigger smile than the headliners. Support slots are often grim affairs, especially at punk rock gigs, with guitar playing fringes in skinny jeans invariably throwing themselves around the stage in an effort to be the “next big thing” or to prove why they’ve already received that label from the emo-press. Either that or they’re pale imitations of the headliner who’ll vanish in a couple of months.

Thankfully The Bronx have managed to buck the trend of booking disappointing support acts by supporting themselves with their ridiculously entertaining side project, Mariachi El Bronx. Strolling out onto the stage in full Mariachi regalia (only the oversized sombreros were missing) and with huge grins to match the crowd’s, Matt Caughthran and co proceed serenade the audience with pitch perfect slices of the Mariachi El Bronx album, including Silver or Lead and Slave Labor. that hopefully had anyone with an open mind headed straight to the merch stand.

Closing with Clown Powder, El Bronx leave the stage for the first time of the night, leaving the crowd at the mercy of Pulled Apart By Horses. Most of the room’s hardcore demographic laps it up, but there’s nothing new here, just a lot of noise and histrionics. Ask me to hum one of the tunes and I’d probably end up making a sound like a modem dialling up.

After a reasonably modest amount of time and eardrum torture, The Bronx reclaim the stage from the ‘Horses to show them just how volatile-punk should be done. As with the best punk gigs it’s a party vibe that prevails amongst all the crowd surfing and body slamming, something the band themselves are keen to encourage (they have a rare day off the next day) despite the fact it’s a Thursday. With tunes that can appeal to the hardcore and the punk-dabblers alike and an enthusiasm that is both infectious and capable of making even the most potentially tit-ish stage banter seem fun and mischievous (let’s see a bigger band try and get away with “As Pontius Pilot said to Jesus, ‘are you having a good fucking time tonight?’”), The Bronx are clearly on singular form and loving every minute of their split-personality tour, making sure that everyone else in the room does too in the process.

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