These gigs are the type where those assembled are politely encouraged. “Iwant the drinkers to drink, the moshers to mosh, and the crowd surfers toget the fuck up on stage!” bellows frontman Matt Caughthran.
Less than 10 seconds later Heart Attack American has barely got going andthe floor has exploded into a buckling scrum of flailing limbs, pint bombsof not-so-cheap student lager splashing everywhere, and exposure to grimbody odours.
After a year-long absence from these shores, this round of dates begins afairly road heavy campaign for The Bronx in support of their third album, duein a fortnight.
The new songs appear less representative of their rawer,more ferocious early material. Knifeman and Young Bloods both plough a muchmore melodic and anthemic direction with the cursory nod to ’80s hard rock,but both fail to stand out in a set which otherwise chucks threeminute cluster bombs of fury one after the other.
“I promise you this,” announces Caughthran at one point, “We’ll never putout anything that’s shit.”
Their first two albums were gritty modern tales which won them therespect of punk and hardcore kids. Perhaps that statement was ajustification: “It’ll do,” in other words.
Not to say that one of LA’s finest acts are mellowing out completely. This isour fourth encounter with them, and the intensity and carnage of their earlyshows remains, fanned by frenetic couplings of They Will Kill Us All andCobra Lucha, or Around The Horn and History’s Stranglers.
Bodies fall one after the other atop us; many hands rub necks, clutch jaws and nurserib cages. In the spirit of punk gigs everyone is quick to help each otherout – even the guy who is too drunk to keep his eyes open and remember he’sjust taken a swing at someone and missed.
Beer, brawling and bruises. Yes, The Bronx are indeed back.