Everything had come full circle. At the end of the show, we stepped carefully over to the front of the stage, boots sticky from the floor, puddles of sweat dripping off of shirtless dudes, maybe a little bit of blood, broken glass, and other fluids, probably of the alcohol variety, but considering this was The Bronx’s CD release party for their fourth album out on ATO Records tomorrow, one never knows.
For the last hour, we had been swimming in a punk rock fever dream, red lights cascading over initially stiff bodies that were driven to a decadent, writhing ecstasy and finally blissful nudity by these musical messiahs–lead by punk rock preacher Matt Caughthran–that are The Bronx.
Or maybe it was a sort of voodoo, pins of music piercing righteously into the ears of those anointed with the bodily fluids of their brethren. Because that’s what we were made to feel like from The Bronx—a sacred family of fellow Angelenos that had been with this band since their coming out a decade ago.
“It’s been a long time coming,” announced Caughthran dynamically, his voice charismatic and eloquent, despite (or maybe because of) the volatile words behind it, ringing through the crowd. With their last album out in 2008 and their punk rock career been sonically sidetracked by their Mariachi El Bronx outfit, it has been a long time coming, but the Bronx have stayed, perfectly, teetering on the edge of going mainstream, but always dragging their old-school fans with them so that their underground roots stay strong.
Ten years older, The Bronx played with that same voracious fire as when we saw them in 2003 at a dive bar; still brazenly audacious with an impenetrable sound that almost slices through your brain. In the small space of Los Globos, we were taken back to the days when punk rock was built on a guerilla buzz, when fans got vicious and weren’t afraid to tear through their insecurities and “find their purpose” as Caughthran says, and when bands just played rock so hard that if you didn’t go home with your groins vibrating, you probably needed your pulse checked.
With that same bone-crunching, soul-churching energy intact, The Bronx resurrected the old beast with new songs like “The Unholy Hand,” “Along For The Ride” which they played after Caughthran told people that they can do what they “want to do” and if they don’t they’re just “chicken,” and “Ribcage.”
They also played older songs like “White Tar,” “Shitty Future” which was dedicated to all the “f**king burnouts,” “Rape Zombie” which went out to “girls that got pills in their drink and don’t know it yet,” “Six Days A Week” that went out to everybody that’s “stolen a car, stolen a radio, or punched someone in the face,” and crowd favorite “Heart Attack American” that was played after it was announced that tonight we will “banish our demons” and there was a shout out to “friends, family, and all the mother f**kers that have been down since day one.”
“Like sands through an hourglass these are the days of our lives and they’re coming to an end,” said Caughthran smiling, eventually making his way down into the audience at the end of the set to be amongst his people. Because as much as the audience worshiped The Bronx and what was probably one of the best shows we’ve seen in years, Caughthran was quick to remind us all that “this ain’t no Sunday, this is Saturday night.”
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles