A cold, dreary, raining night is enough to deter many from the most exciting events. Partnered with a Sunday night, you have a recipe for disaster.
The die-hard Sydney rock fans have completely missed that memo because the Crowbar is filled to the brim this evening, with wide smiles and beers in hand.
Tonight, we welcome back The Bronx, a punk rock band hailing from Los Angeles, California.
They have been mighty good to Australians over the years, visiting often, releasing plenty of material and even multiple stops in the same city as tonight is show #2 in the same venue.
Joining The Bronx this evening is Sydney’s off the rails younger brother’s Totally Unicorn. Their energy is unrivalled by most and ensures the crowd is left smiling (and a little confused) at every show, tonight is no exception.
For $40 you are not usually treated to two international acts, but that is what we got served!
West London’s five-piece Chubby and the Gang, have built their reputation for fast-paced shows that are gone almost as quickly as they begin. They reminded me of the old school snotty English punk, although performed with incredible musicianship. Their brand of no apologies English punk makes me smile imagining this show in a filthy underground venue in their hometown.
As someone who is used to weekend party shows, I am surprised when the lights go down before 9 pm. The headliner has arrived!
Tribal drumming fills the venue as the band enters the stage one by one. There are no egos, they all walk out ready to work and have a good time.
Vocalist Matt stands at the helm with his signature smile declaring ‘night two, just for you!’.
Is he lulling us into a false sense of security? Absolutely.
A scream erupts from deep within to kick off Heart Attack American and the crowd does not miss a beat to set off a pit.
His ability to switch between their heavy songs to more melodic is seamless. They waste no time launching into well-known tracks such as Shitty Future, I Got Chills and White Shadow. Guitarist Ken Horne’s view is disrupted by a large stack of speakers but his tone through said speakers is undeniable, the band are tight and plays every song like true professionals.
A few of the members did a guest DJ set in the venue the night before, after their first Sydney performance. My brother attended and reported that Matt was hoping that night tonights will be the most hungover show they have ever played.
As the band take a quick beer break, he tells the story of stumbling out of the same venue at 4 am resulting in him questioning every life choice later in the day. He raises his beer to the weekend warriors who are returning to work the very next day. Thanks, Matt, you’re the best.
The Bronx’s music is already so much fun recorded, but live it is a different monster. With big catchy choruses and ‘Woah Oh’s’ that the crowd can join in on really bring the energy in the room up a notch. Superbloom takes off with speed and precision, and guitarist and founder Joby keeps the crowd in the palm of his band.
The honour system joined the party as singer Matt tells the crowd ‘If you weren’t here last night, you must crowd surf to the next song’. As all Californians do, the next song is dedicated to their home, Los Angeles. We return to their 2003 album for They Will Kill Us All (without mercy) to the crowd’s delight. Arms and legs are seen thrown around the crowd as they are doing what they are told and the crowd surf throughout the small venue. After 20 years as a team, the band have not lost an ounce of energy, vitality, or integrity, with the group still throwing everything into tonight’s performance.
Former Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo, a heavy hitter, brings a huge new dimension to older tracks such as Six Days a Week as well as their newer, more rock ‘n’ roll numbers. If Matt could stand still for a moment, Joey could take out the title of the hardest-working member on the stage, it’s a close one! The set is rounded out by Around The Horn off 2006’s The Bronx (II), as the band exits the stage. The energy is still high and the house lights are not yet on, the encore chants begin and within minutes the band return with fresh beers and even bigger smiles.
There are a few songs in my mind that I know they have not played yet and greatly looking forward to. Although we are taken by surprise as The Bronx treat us to a Motorhead cover that they have never played before. Their take on Over the Top could make an unknowing listener believe it’s one of their own. As the opening notes of Knifeman are pronounced, we must come to terms that this is the final song. Thankfully, it’s dragged out to allow the crowd and the band to soak up every last moment of this fantastic evening.
The band bid us farewell, leaving everyone hungry for more. Their last album The Bronx IV was only released last year, yet with how frequently they produce material; we can only hope new work and new dates are announced sooner rather than later. There are a handful of shows left on this tour across the country before they hop over to visit our kiwi mates.
Make sure you get down to a show and have a hell of a time!