Anyway, I actually missed the start of opening band Axis Of but caught their last few songs and they did enough to convince me to buy their album. They're from Northern Ireland and play punk rock, to put it simply. I haven't had a chance to listen to the album yet but from what I remember it was a punk rock sound that followed closer to bands like Converge than The Clash but didn't spring into full blown hardcore. What was clear though is the great energy that came off these guys and they were obviously desperate to impress, something that is shown even more so by the fact they were playing a free show just after this one finished, sadly I couldn't go to that since I needed to get a train back to Edinburgh but they are definitely a band I'll be keeping an eye on. (7/10)
Up next from Ontario Canada was Single Mothers who hit the stage in a whirlwind of noise as they bring their raucous punk rock to The Garage. Drew Thomson is a slightly terrifying/incredibly exciting front man who you can't take your eyes off of as you're not quite sure what he might do next. They obviously have some fans in attendance tonight and it's clear why as they rip through a set that suggests these guys are fully on the up. A live show that excites people can get you a long way in punk rock and Single Mothers already have one of those so keep an eye on these guys. (8/10)
A band who definitely have one hell of a live show is The Bronx and that is in full effect tonight as Matt Caughthran is is scintillating form as he takes the stage. Opening with "The Unholy Hand" the crowd are instantly into this return from the band. However it's not enough for Caughthran as he climbs down into the crowd and gets them really moving. Tonight he feels like a preacher in front of his willing flock who are quite happy to follow him down into the depths of hell and back. Sadly they can only play an hour due to it being a Saturday night and The Garage having to transform into a club but Caughthran promises that it won't be an issue as by the end of their set there won't be a Garage any more before tearing into "False Alarm" and personally leading the audience into the next pit. From that moment on the crowd just doesn't seem to stop as a constant stream of crowd surfers hit the stage (including yours truly who decided to pop that particular cherry). A stream which intensifies when Caughthran himself decides to join the security team for one song as he implores the crowd to give The Bronx their bodies.
It's clear that this gig was a celebration. A celebration of the return of The Bronx as a hardcore band who are not going to take any prisoners. As Caughthran tells the crowd punk rock has returned to the underground and that is where in his mind it is meant to be. While a band like Rancid might be a modern day Clash or Ramones, The Bronx are your Black Flag or Minor Threat. The wider mainstream world will never know who they are and quite frankly they don't give a fuck. Venues the size of The Garage are probably their limit but every fan who turns up to their shows will go home battered and bruised but having had the time of their life. Plus it feels like The Bronx appreciate and love their fans because of this. While many bands tell their fans how much everything means to them you very rarely believe them. When The Bronx tell's you they love you, you do. Before they leave there is time for the closing two punch of "History Strangler's" and "Heart Attack American" which nearly does destroy The Garage as the whole place seems to move several inches closer to the stage when they hit in. Tonight is a triumph for The Bronx and a triumph for the fans who are just delighted to have them back.
9 out of 10