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Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Thurs 18 Jan

Such was The Bronx’s impact on the hardcore punk scene on their emergence in 2002, they’ve pretty much guaranteed packed houses on these shores for the rest of their careers. At a time when the scene was getting suffocated with MTV friendly punk-pop, The Bronx came along, with a handful of other bands and injected new life into the scene. They never forget to stop by Cardiff on tour and whether it’s The Bronx or their Mexican alter egos Mariachi El Bronx, they are loved in these parts. Tonight is no exception. On a bitterly cold January night, Clwb Ifor Bach may be the only place in Cardiff where you could break a sweat merely by standing around.

No strangers to bending the rules a bit, they take the slightly unusual route of playing their new album V from the beginning, in its entirety, launching into Night Drop At The Glue Factory with front man Matt Caughthran orchestrating the heaving mass of sweaty bodies. A rumbling bassline signals the start of Stranger Danger, followed by Side Effects – a track that perfectly shows a band whose songwriting has matured over the years, whilst entirely sticking to their initial blueprint. Indeed, a quick look around the room suggests that the new material is being just as warmly received by tonight’s audience as the older stuff.

However, this rabid crowd still manage to find another level of mosh enthusiasm, when the boys from LA smash into Heart Attack American, from their debut album. The rest of the set is dedicated to straight up crowd favourites such as Shitty Future and White Guilt, the latter prompting a mass singalong when Caughthran dangles the mic into a willing crowd, before they close proceedings with a stomping rendition of History’s Stranglers.

Despite a couple of personnel changes in the past couple of years, The Bronx are as tight as I’ve seen them and look completely comfortable in their collective skin. The jewel in Cardiff’s music scene, Clwb Ifor Bach has long been known to be the best place to catch a band like this and nights like this reminds us why. Perfect punk rock in a perfect venue.


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