Wednesday, 31 August 2011

the bronx/ mariachi el bronx @ the garage, 26th august

While it is promotion for Mariachi El Bronx’s recently-released second album that presumably motivates this double-header tour, they’re first up tonight, closing their set at a time when other venues have yet to start tearing ticket stubs. Though nominally the LA punks’ gentler outlet, it proves a false reputation: when Silver or Lead is introduced as “a bit of a rattlesnake”, make no mistake – it’s the bit that bites. Look beyond the charro suits and focus on their smiles: not tongue-in-cheek smirks, but genuine joy. It’s enough to make you wonder if – aye carbumba! – the running order might end up reversed on future tours…

Then the band reappears as The Bronx, and the pecking order is emphatically restored. Shorn of greco getup, Matt Caughthran spearheads an intense sixty minutes, that, though not immune to punk cliché, hits hard. Only Notice of Eviction quells the raucous pace, which peaks when a request for “bodies on bodies on bodies” results in dense waves of crowd-surfers being plucked from the air by harried security. Let’s hope their fans’ enthusiasm doesn’t come back to bite the band – if the going punishment for trying to incite a riot is four years in the slammer, The Bronx are amassing multiple life sentences.

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