Live Reviews

The Bronx – Live

London ULU,

It’s The Bronx, Jim, but not quite as we know them. When Matt Caughthran and his merry men first appear on stage tonight, the majority of the crowd is clearly amused and bemused in equal measures, as tonight the much-loved hardcore rockers are supported by their own alter-ego, Mariachi El Bronx. Dressed in traditional mariachi dress and accompanied by three violinists and a trumpet player, it’s odd to witness these purveyors of aural chaos in such a smooth, suave context. They sound great though, and it only takes a few songs before loud applause and shouts of “Arriba!” echo around the room.

Interval entertainment arrives next, in the form of performance artist Simon Subvert. He dissects a toy rabbit, and then sets to work on various parts of his own body with nails, razorblades, and other sharp instruments. A darker, more realistic shade of fake blood wouldn’t have been a bad idea, but even so, he makes us feel slightly ill – which was probably the point.

So there’s a sense of relief when The Bronx return, and fuck me, they do not disappoint in the slightest! Right from the start, this is pure, unadulterated, visceral, turbocharged rock n’ roll chaos; the kind that too few bands can deliver these days. The pit steadily swells in size as the band unleash the likes of ‘They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)‘ and ‘Shitty Future‘ onto the grateful, sweat-soaked, flailing mass in front of them, and there is simply no let up in energy throughout what seems like a painfully short hour-long set.

Seriously, folks, this is what rock n’ roll should be about – passion, vitality, but above all, unpredictability. Mariachi El Bronx may be a brave (and very much worthwhile) side-project, but The Bronx shouldn’t – nay, mustn’t – give up the day job when they’re on such blistering form.

Alex Gosman