Capitol, Perth WA
October 26th, 2018
Supports: High Tension and Private Function
The first and only time I saw The Bronx, last year supporting Pennywise, I was impressed by their enthusiasm and vocalist Matt Caughthran’s willingness to get amongst the pit with the crowd. And tonight’s show was no different, and not just because of The Bronx…
Melbourne’s Private Function opened, sounding like a throwback to late 70’s, early 80’s British punk ala UK Subs but with a classic Aussie bogan aesthetic, the boys played through a set of songs with names such as ‘No Hat, No Play’, ‘I Wish Australia Had It’s Guns Again’ with absurdity, energy and a verve that more established bands tend to lose. Their sense humour, explaining “this song is about our favourite funeral company in Australia” before launching into a song called ‘White Ladies Funeral’, and their tendency to play as if they were performing to a much larger audience, was well received by the small crowd who had gathered. I overheard several men commenting about how awesome they were. Private Function is that band that you did not know you wanted to know but are certainly glad you do know.
Wall Of Sound faves High Tension came on stage next, with ambient lighting and tonal sounds. Vocalist Karina Utomo began in a squatting position before unleashing her brutal and demonic vocals. The heavy drum beat, guitar riffs and interaction with the crowd was certainly a shock to the system to many of the crowd who seemingly had little experience with High Tension previous to this. But as their set rolled along the head banging became moshing and Utomo jumped into the crowd singing directly at certain members and pulling them in with her performance. High Tension are currently one of the most hardest working heavy bands in Australia with their constant touring and releases, and that work is certainly evident within their live shows. They are a polished, fierce force of nature whose constancy and showmanship are on point.
The Bronx arrived on stage with the all customary voice over and distinctive music before Caughthran screams “Make some motherfucking noise” and ‘Unholy Hand’ begins to play. The band, in particular Caughthran, brings boundless energy to the stage and the crowd responded in like, with a huge cheer after the first song. Seguing into the next song, ‘Sore Throat’, the band’s greatest strength is twofold; their talent, they are accomplished musicians who play consistently well, there is not much of a difference between their live sound and their recorded sound, which in this day and age speaks volumes. Their other strength is their obvious love for performing. Moving from one song to the other, Caughthran encouraged the crowd to yell, scream, jump and get rowdy. Progressing from one song to the next, the band showcased some impressive and intricate guitar work with vocals that just would not quit.
The banter between songs were somewhat lacking with Caughthran reverting to repetitive and somewhat clichéd phrases like “west is best”, “make some motherfucking noise”, “it’s a Friday night” to rile up the crowd. Honestly it didn’t seem to matter, as the fans were eating up everything The Bronx was doing. With a shout out to the ladies asking them to cheer before commencing ‘White Guilt’, it was more interesting to hear Caughthran explain what each song was about before launching into them. Halfway through the set, people started to crowd surf and stage invade, with one punter hugging Caughthran during ‘Youth Wasted’. As the night went on, the crowd got more and more into the show with ‘The Knifeman’ receiving a particularly rapturous and fervent response, leading to Caughthran jumping in among the crowd. Finishing with ‘Around The Horn’ before coming back for an encore including ‘History’s Stranglers’, The Bronx played a show that left fans sated and happy.
Through talking to many punk fans, I have learnt that The Bronx is one of those bands that you either love or aren’t bothered with, and tonight the loyal, devoted and fanatical came out to worship at the feet of one of the tightest, most dependable punk rock bands around, who, luckily for us, just happens to love Australia
Gig Review by Carys Hurcom
The Bronx – Australian Tour 2018
with High Tension & Private Function
Oct 31 @ Croxton Bandroom, Melb