Live streams have definitely become the new normal and gratefully so, especially when at this moment in time it is impossible to see bands in your own country let alone one of the best punk bands of the modern era. They however can be hit and miss, some professionally shot and mixed with added features (see Biffy Clyro’s recent stream from The Glasgow Barrowlands) which have been well worth the ticket price. Others have been via a phone’s camera over social media which, even though more personal, just don’t replace that feeling of seeing a band in a venue.
The Bronx have a history of performing on Halloween and bringing a spooky edge to their intense, sweat dripping performances. Last year with hip hop legends Cypress Hill and in 2018 concluding their Australian tour dressed to impress in full costume. But would they be able to emulate their energy online, especially given frontman Matt Caughthran's habit of getting amongst their crowds and occasionally diving off a balcony or two.
Opening with the first track from their debut album, ‘Heart Attack American’ sets the tone that this livestream will not only be high energy but that they would be excitedly be exploring all corners of their discography over the following hour. Joey Castillo on drums again and Matt’s visceral screams tearing through the audience’s home speakers it was a strong start. They roar through fan favourite ‘Shitty Future’ next, not letting up. ‘Happy Halloween motherfuckers!’, Matt exclaims before kicking back in after the breakdown. Sending creepy chills up your spine. They round off the first part of the stream with ‘Sore Throat’ before fading to black.
The lights slowly rise again in a clever edit to Matt donning his Mariachi jacket and with the full Mariachi band in tow to play ‘Revolution Girls’ and ‘Cell Mates’. Taking it down a notch but delivering their softer side with aplomb. You are led through a door to a larger outdoor area back into the world of riffs. A 10ft skeleton looms over the band amongst menacing red lighting and smoke as the band throw themselves into a fierce rendition of ‘Knifeman’, the breakdown extended quietly with guitarist Joby teasing Matt before coming back with full force. ‘Happy Halloween’ appears in shadows on the building behind as they smash you in the face with ‘Six Days A Week’. Unrelenting.
The final phase of this cleverly pieced live show is a combination of the whole Bronx & Mariachi collective. A brief intro to ‘Side Effects’ played by the Mexican alter ego before Joby leads you into the first of new takes on the hardcore punk tracks. Violin, acoustic guitars, bongos/tumba and trumpets join the chorus of distorted guitars and hard hitting Joey Castillo. Additional kaleidoscope camera effects add to visual impact of a blue and red lighting scheme.
The collective now flip between Mariachi and Punk tracks from their expansive past, shifting slowly to a zombie look reminiscent of their first video for ‘False Alarm’. The horns adding a new exciting layer to ‘The Unholy Hand’ and appropriately ‘Around The Horn’ which builds to a huge crescendo with Matt begging the band for more energy shouting ‘Let’s Go’ and they absolutely bring it. They close out with two fan favourites, ’48 Roses’ and ‘History’s Stranglers’, a camera effect giving the feel of an earthquake. The lighting, effects and multi cam shots both stationary and moving add so much more to this punk version of Metallica’s S&M. The direction and editing must have taken some time but is well worth the effort. This would make an excellent DVD.
Matt signs off by exclaiming down the camera “We Love You!”. We love you too Matt, we love you so much.