With the room still vibrating from La Dispute’s performance on Wednesday night, I entered the Metro Theatre on Friday to find a much more mature crowd gathering.  All of the beards, tattoos and flannelette shirts expected at a punk show were present, but it seemed that most were from an older, more seasoned punk generation. Quite a testament to The Bronx’s 12 year career that has never showed any sign of slowing down, or even aging.

I personally have waited 7 years now for the stars to properly align, allowing me to see The Bronx. The night was pregnant, full and swollen with potential. I have recently retired from the mosh pit myself, but with a clear view from a nice safe distance I collected a quiet beer, took up my position, and prepared for the not so quiet, three courses of punking that was about to begin.

Born Lion got things rolling early with an energetic and enthusiastic set, that was only a small taste of what we were in for later in the night. At times rigid while trying their best to conjure up some audience participation, everybody seemed to finally catch on as the band unleashed their go-to track, ‘Good Times Jimmy’, upon us. As they left the stage, excitement built and all available moshing space was soon occupied in anticipation of Melbourne’s High Tension.

With an almost completely dark stage the band filed out followed by our unlikely hero of the evening, lead singer and screamoholic: Karina Utomo. With long black hair, a tiny frame, small dress and pair of Chuck Taylors she struck quite the silhouette through the smoke screen. The crowd braced themselves as the first wall of sound crashed down upon us like a wave of post-hardcore madness resulting in synchronised moshing and mass hysteria for the next 45 minutes. Though a little dogged by a slightly muffled mix on the vocals, the band delivered a dynamic, ecstatic performance thick with urgent riffs and frantic melody.

Thoroughly overwhelmed, impressed, and suitably primed by the Melbourne four piece, we watched as they left the stage, soon to be replaced by the headliners. In an almost comical, complete juxtaposition, the petite yet powerful Karina has now been swapped out for the charismatic, bear shaped, sweaty man-beast Matt Caughthran. He decided to join the crowd early for a quick surf after only one song whilst the band stood firm, striking familiar chords. The rest of the wildly funky and playfully aggressive set is played out with a cool and control, laced with confidence.  Between songs we saw a few stops for motivational and sweary speeches, as well as the odd shower of sweat stained and torn up clothing from the crowd.

Highlights of the night were definitely two of the classics taken from their third eponymous album, ‘White Guilt’ which saw Matt donning a sopping wet, sweaty singlet come makeshift vest as he led his band into the upbeat cautionary tale, which the whole crowd joined in singing along and positive anthem ‘Knifeman’, which encouraged everybody to create art and destroy moshpits simultaneously! Skipping the walking off the stage part of their encore the guys finished on a strong, high note with ‘Heart Attack American’.

The Sydney show was the last stop on their current Australian tour, but next chance you get, see The Bronx. I know I will be. It may be the only opportunity you get to see a guy in a bowling shirt dancing and yelling some extremely catchy songs at you. Trust me, you do not want to miss that.

Quote of the night also goes to frontman Matt Caughthran “Get down from here man, this is my fuckin´ soapbox!”. So punk rock.

Chris Hyde

FULL GALLERY HERE

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