Supported by High Tension & Born Lion
Reviewed by Meghan Player
Australia has had a long-standing love affair with punk rock, and in particular, one of LA’s finest: The Bronx. Tonight, Sydney are treated to one, very epic lineup of bands – illustrating, not only the strength of our local scene, but just how relevant the punk scene still is.
Born Lion kick off tonight’s impressive bill, with the punch your fist in the air, D For Danger. Greeting the steady stream of punters that begin to enter the venue, the band never falter on the energy and enthusiasm that defines their live shows; proving why they are one of Sydney’s most promising acts of late. Having scored themselves some impressive support slots this year – most notably The Hives and UK duo, Royal Blood – things only seem to be on the up-and-up for the four-piece, who continue to impress me each time I see them.
Keeping the riffs heavy and the local scene kicking, Melbourne’s High Tension take to the smoke-shrouded, dimly-lit stage with little fuss. However, as soon as first bars of opener Blaze Up ring out over the venue, I immediately start kicking myself for not seeing the band play live, sooner. Front-woman Karina Utomo writhers and growls like a banshee – breaking up her fearsome scream with some equally impressive clean vocals; the band shifting and complimenting the vocal range with ease.
In some ways, it almost feels like watching an exorcism being performed in front of your eyes; the contrasting light and dark melodies feeling like a flurry of demons trying to claw their way out of hell. And it’s fucking wonderful.
As impressive as tonight’s openers are, there is no denying that tonight belongs to headliners, The Bronx. Taking to the stage with casual swagger, the band remind us from the get-go just why they have such a long-standing love affair with Australian crowds.
Opening with Kill My Friends, the band waste no time in getting the punk party started, with the sold-out crowd bursting into a frenzy of moshing. And it doesn’t stop for the remainder of the set. By the second song, History’s Stranglers, frontman Matt Caughthran has already launched himself into the crowd, somehow managing to sing the entire song whilst being supported by a sea of bodies.
No album is left untouched tonight, with the set list boasting both new [Youth Wasted, Ribcage, Pilot Light] and old [Inveigh, Knifeman, Shitty Future] tracks; the crowd singing along to each song with as much passion and enthusiasm as the band onstage – “We saved the best for last“, Caughthran beams. And there is little doubt that they have.
Although tonight isn’t my first time seeing The Bronx [and certainly not my last], words can’t describe how impressive their sets are each time they visit Australia. After tonight though, I can say with enough certainty that: if I had to watch one band for the rest of my life, it would definitely be The Bronx.