2015.12.13 :: The Bronx :: Brooklyn Bowl London

Posted on Tuesday December 15th in

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2015.12.13 :: The Bronx w/ Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes + Pounded By The Surf :: Brooklyn Bowl London

Words by Matt Stocks
Photos by Trudi Knight

Really, you can sum up a Bronx show in just two words: utter chaos. But more on that later.

The LA punks return to the Brooklyn Bowl tonight for their second show of the weekend, and the Bowl’s final gig of 2015.

In addition to The Bronx, we also have Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes and Pounded By The Surf – who are also back tonight for their second show in a row.

From the outset the crowd is notably different to one that was gathered last night to enjoy the Mexican infused folk-rock hybrid of The Bronx’s Charro-donning alter egos: the Mariachi El Bronx. That’s not to say that a lot of the people here this evening weren’t also in attendance last night. Just that tonight is a celebration of angry, distorted, loud punk rock music, and that perhaps explains the look of confusion on many a punter’s face as they walk into the funky surroundings of the Brooklyn Bowl and are greeted by the surf rock instrumental jams of four dudes in cowboy hats.

But the naysayers soon learn that you don’t need a rundown shoebox sized venue to host a decent punk rock show, and the more discerning punks out there soon realise that two of those dudes dressed as cowboys are The Bronx’s very own Joby J. Ford and Brad Magers. It doesn’t take long for Pounded By The Surf to get heads nodding, and by the time they wrap up there’s a hell of a lot of heads in the room.

At this point you can almost smell the anticipation for the next act in the air.

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It’s been one hell of a year for Frank Carter. After a couple of years of artistic obscurity, in 2015 he put a new band together and got back to doing what he does best: by his own definition, being an angry little bastard. The debut album “Blossom” by Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes came out in August, and since then the band have been decimating venues all over the country, which brings us back to our point earlier about the Brooklyn Bowl.

Traditionally speaking, the natural and preferred home for punk rock shows has been sweaty little club venues, and it’s obvious why: as a genre, punk rock doesn’t really lend itself to big arenas. But until you’ve seen a man swim over a sea of people to get to the bar and buy himself a vodka and coke; instigate one of the largest indoor circle pits we have ever seen; give a sermon to 1,000 captivated people on the importance of not being beaten down by fear in the aftermath of the tragedy that occurred in Paris last month; and end the show by walking through the crowd to the merch stand outside, where he promises to take pictures and meet everyone, then you don’t have a leg to stand on. That man, as if you needed telling, is Mr Frank Carter, and for him all the bigger space meant was more scope to fuck shit up, which is exactly what he did.

Any other band would have an impossible time following Frank Carter’s quite frankly life changing performance. But then The Bronx aren’t most bands: they’re The “mother fucking” Bronx. And sure enough their set tonight can be summed up as follows: utter chaos.

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Another notable feature of the Brooklyn Bowl is that there’s no barrier separating the band from the crowd, which is why at any given moment we see far more people jumping around on stage than just the five members of The Bronx. It’s also the reason there’s a steady flow of crowd surfers from the first song played until the final notes ring out – and that is no over exaggeration.

When was the last time you saw a venue allow that? You might be able to order an Ice Cream Sundae and bowl a few lanes whilst the show takes place if that takes your fancy, but don’t think for a second that the Brooklyn Bowl doesn’t actively encourage unruly punk rock behaviour, and the vibe is such that at no point in the evening do things ever risk running totally out of control.

In fact, amidst the carnage the band and crowd work together to return not one but two pairs of lost glasses, and even the moron who lost his passport on stage managed to get it back after some due berating from frontman Matt Caughthran, who we should say is a strong contender for the best frontman in punk rock. And whilst we’re dishing out the accolades, let’s just throw this one out there: tonight’s show by The Bronx is a firm contender for Brooklyn Bowl’s best gig of 2015.

Don’t believe the hype? Just wait until you see the video footage from the night…

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