The Bronx Dickens Pub, Calgary AB, April 5

The Bronx Dickens Pub, Calgary AB, April 5
Photo: Jenn Five
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Excellent punk shows are supposed to be loud, sweaty and intimate, which is exactly what the Bronx delivered to the huge crowd at Dickens Pub on Thursday night. The hardcore punk quintet from Los Angeles has been around since 2002, but only in the last year or so have they bothered to do headlining cross-Canada tours, a fact that vocalist Matt Caughthran brought up during the set as a sincere regret.
 
The band emerged decked out in black and kicked off strong with "Sore Throat," off of their latest album V, which dropped last September and shows the band can still write strong material after 15 years. Then they busted out "Heart Attack American" from their 2003 self-titled album, "Rape Zombie" from their 2006 self-titled effort and "The Unholy Hand" from their 2013 self-titled full-length, with Caughthran stagediving into the crowd, flailing around onstage and proving that there's no place for any barriers at Bronx shows.
 
Things really started to heat up in the second half. The band went into "Side Effects," another newer song that features Caughthran actually singing instead of using his trademark gruff shout. Someone in the crowd mentioned something about dancing and by "White Guilt," another slower track that features a killer guitar solo by Ken Horne, he jumped off the stage yet again. The difference was he stayed there this time, performing the rest of the set in the crowd and turning the room into one gigantic moshpit, which really added another level to the show.
 
The Bronx are not the type of band to just stand around onstage while the crowd watches. They want the crowd to get involved and they pulled off just that flawlessly as they busted out tracks like "Rib Cage," "Youth Wasted" and "Knifeman." Between songs, Caughthran gave a little rant out how they were still some "good motherfuckers out there" in the world, and seemed happy to be up close and personal in a way that not all bands choose to be.
 
It wasn't until the encore that he really truly returned to the stage to join the rest of the band, who never missed a note, and they ended with "History's Stranglers" from their 2006 self-titled before jumping into the crowd yet again. The Bronx more than succeeded in delivering a diverse, entertaining and energetic set proving that they are one older band that are still more than relevant in 2018.
 
 

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