Punk rock is a wonderful thing. It is a culture, a lifestyle, a catharsis for many, a religion, but most of all – a state of mind. Musically speaking – a raw, visceral, primal sound which no other form of music will ever capture its glorious venom and fury. And what better place to go a punk rock show than in jolly ol’ London town! It’s a mild autumn evening, it is the first night of the Punk Rock Pins & Pin Ups Weekender, and the Brooklyn Bowl in London is about to get a jolly rude awakening in a short time to come… especially as it is also the first night that the Jubilee Line is open 24 hours! So an extra means to celebrate for all those wanting to have a great time.
First up on the stage is the cool as cucumber Pounded By The Surf. A side project made up of members from The Bronx / Mariachi El Bronx, Pounded By The Surf are an instrumental four piece who delve in to the territories of surf rock with a Southern rock twinge. Imagine the bastard lovechild of a punk rock version of The Shadows meets Dick Dale – but with some really darn cool stetson cowboy hats. It may seem an unlikely start to the evening, but they sure have the crowd’s interest at heart. A rootin’ tootin’ opening set!
Next up is the main support for the evening – Birmingham’s finest punk rock sons GBH. Still going hard to this very day, GBH are as reliable and as gloriously punk as f**k as they always have been. After nearly four decades in the game, they still prove a force to be reckoned with. At this point they start to get the first pits of the evening going, mainly consisting of GBH die hards, but with a more curious audience who were more than happy to appreciate and open their eyes and ears to some true UK punk legends. Whilst the set gets a little repetitive at times, it is still a terrific sight to behold that after all these years, GBH sound just as great as they ever did.
“It’s our day off! No rules! Our stage – your stage! No barricades, no pussies! Let’s go! We’re The Bronx from Los Angeles”.
And so it begins… the short but sweet call to arms from Matt Caughtran with the devil in his eyes, as The Bronx arrive on stage. These guys have currently been busy on tour in the UK as Mariachi El Bronx on the Fireball Tour, but you know they needed to let off a little steam by reconnecting to their roots – by channeling the untamed, chaotic splendor that is The Bronx for one night only.
To say that this was a hectic show would be a crass understatement. From the moment Caughtran addresses the crowd and the band kick off in to a triple whammy of ‘Heart Attack American’ / ‘False Alarm’ / ‘White Tar‘, it is very clear that there is absolutely no chance of anyone coming out of this show with at least a bruise, cut, or some form of pit and stage dive related injury. This crowd is set in to overdrive from the get go, and they do not hold back until the very beer and blood spilt end.
The set for tonight is an awesome mixture of choice cuts from their four studio albums. The crowd especially getting super wild to fan favourite ‘I Got Chills’, ‘Shitty Future’, and a blistering version of ‘Pilot Light’. But there is not really one set song that is a highlight – the entire set is a highlight, and is also a very poignant reminder why The Bronx are the best punk rock band of the 21st century (and this writer’s favourite band of all time). It isn’t until the last two songs for ‘They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy), and ‘History’s Stranglers’ that the bar is set even further, with the number of stage divers multiplying by the second. Every song raises the bar, and do you know what is the best thing about this? There was just as equal amount of ladies in the pit and stage diving as there was the guys – and that is a very cool thing, especially when everyone comes out of the show all smiles! Punk rockers look after their people, ladies and gentlemen.
But coming back to the point, The Bronx absolutely killed it on this very night. And with the announcement of a brand new album coming early 2017, one can only but salivate with intense excitement of what The Bronx will bring to the table next. But on tonight’s evidence – from a lot of blood, the sweat, and the beers (shout out to the guy behind Joby’s amp who gave us a Coors Light at the front to hydrate!)… this is a band that has still so, so much gas in the tank. The Bronx are more punk rock than you, and their fans are one of a kind. A collective of misfits and freaks who like to have a party, get a bit wild, and most of all… enjoy great music. And that is why The Bronx’s fans are better than yours, and will forever validate the true substance of the band themselves. Absolutely bloody astounding!
Note : At present, our reviewer is still nursing the bruises and cuts from all of the pit and stage dive action, and would like to clarify that it was totally worth it.