The Bronx, The Cambridge Hotel, October 23
Tuesday night saw Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel turn into a nauseating frenzy of vibrant energy, as generations of punk fans flocked to see the iconic US punk greats The Bronx.
Melbourne’s Private Function kicked the night off with their fast-paced brand of ocker rock. Sporting tucked in T-shirts and mullets to die for, they brought a comedic element to their performance with song titles like No Hat No Play and the political commentary of I Wish Australia Had Its Guns Again.
Musically they mixed ’70s style sharpie glam rock with the early days of punk, and their energy was top notch, as the singer stomped on foldbacks and tossed the microphone around like a toy.
The room began to fill as another Melbourne-based band, High Tension, came onstage. Their name perfectly describes their music; a heavy foray into metal with fast blast beats and bellowing screams from the frontwoman - bringing a strong display of brutal aggression and screaming in the audience’s faces.
Once The Bronx took to the stage, all hell rained loose.
Pummelling through a 17-song setlist comprised of nearly two decades worth of material, the band quickly jumped (literally) into form. Thirty-nine-year-old frontman Matt Caughthran displayed heavy amounts of youthful exuberance and energy with layers of sweat constantly dripping from his bald head.
Through his thick American accent, he proclaimed the band as locals after taking a dip in Newcastle’s famous Bogie Hole earlier in the day.
About halfway through the set Caughthran hurled himself off the barrier into a moshpit full of maniacal gig goers who passionately screamed every word of every song back to him, like a DIY basement punk show. He even climbed the Cambridge’s foundations and launched into the air like a projectile, exploring the open space between the crowd and the ceiling, until he found himself crowdsurfing atop a sea of hands, still screaming the song’s lyrics deep into the mic.
Apart from Caughthran, the other band members maintained focus on their instruments, while making the most of the intimate nature of the gig, delivering blistering guitar solos and tough, pounding drum beats that rumbled through the venue like a volcano erupting piles of hot ash.
“I feel unstoppable tonight,” Caughthran drooled during their iconic performance, and fans demanded an encore.
Gigs like this show the spirit of punk is still alive and well in 2018.