Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Bronx, Plague Vendor, '68 at the Bunkhouse, Wednesday Oct 18, 2017

We've known Kenny, one of the guitarists in the Bronx, for decades due to his time in San Diego's amazing punk'n'roll band, the Dragons, but kept missing the Bronx whenever they would come to town for whatever reason. We were finally able to rectify that with this cool week day bill.

The Atlanta, GA duo (guitar/drums) simply named '68 (not to be confused with other bands using these numbers as part of their name) opened the night to a damn full crowd - certainly one of the best nights I've seen at the Bunkhouse, especially on a week night! I was completely unfamiliar with them, but they won me over quick with these frenetic show - completely crazed guitarist/vocalist with tons of properly used effects on both instrument and voice and monstrous drummer who was also quite the showman as well as an incredible musician. The songs were somewhat metal-ish, reminding us a bit of another fave, Nina Coyote and Chica Tornado, but with lots of uniqueness - atonal and a-rhythmic riffs here'n'there, bits of Jack White-isms, and damn cool tunes. Super full sound - a splitter /octave pedal used on the guitar tone to emulate a bass, and speakers perched on each side of the stage with the two in between, facing each other so that they could interact physically as well as musically. Really fantastic - I dunno what it is about Atlanta, but cool stuff is happening there. Check these cats out and be sure to see them if you have a chance - what a show!

Plague Vendor was also unknown to me and, while they still fit into the rough spectrum of the night, were pretty damn different from the opener. This quartet were much more No Wave/Post-Punk/Pixies-esque, and played in the dark (virtually no stage lights at all) with a guitarist that sat down juxtaposed against an animated lead singer who interacted with individual audience members throughout and would grab cell phones as people were filming the show and take close ups of each member of the band as they played! Entertaining and interesting, even if not my usual style.

A number of people throughout the night told me that the Bronx was one of, if not the singular, favorite band of theirs, and they certainly had a massive, loyal fan base this night! With a powerful two guitar attack and a non-stop, drivin' rhythm section behind him, the lead singer ended up spending most of his time in the audience screamin' through the songs while the crowd sang along with him. The audience were insane throughout the entire set - singing/shoutin' along, moshin' and generally diggin' the madness. The band was super tight, with the guitarist that is not Ken (sorry - I don't know anyone's names!) taking most of the leads (and even using a Frampton-styled talk box for a song or two!), but the two guitars pulling off harmony feedback at one point. I got some hints of the Dragons-styled rock'n'roll (actually, probably just pulling from the same influences), but with hollered vocals. Kenny got to let loose on some furious leads towards the end of the set, then there were some harmony leads and everything concluded with more soccer-hooligan groups vocals!

Wild'n'fun night at the Bunkhouse! Thanks for everyone involved and everyone who came out to make this a rockin' Wednesday!