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The final date of the “Shred Yr Face 2” Tour sees The Bronx being supported by Fucked Up and Rolo Tomassi, upstairs at the “will-it-ever-be-rebranded” O2 Academy. It’s cold outside, so lets hope the bands warm me up…

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And they do – first up is Sheffield’s Rolo Tomassi. Wow! I’ve only ever heard sounds like this on a Mr. Bungle album, and I’ve always wondered if Mr. Bungle can be classed as music. My trusty friend Wikipedia classes them as Punk Jazz, Mathcore, Experimental Rock and Art Punk. I describe them as Freeform Jazz Thrash. Even then, I don’t think any of these genres, or anything else I can write, will describe their sound to you.

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They (who look like a bunch of teenagers) start off their set with some Heavy Metal riffing, which then transcends into some kind of technical time-signature churning monster, fronted by angelic Eva Spence, whose main task is making blood curdling noises like that dog that wakes you up at 3 in the morning. Even more shocking to me, is that the crowd appear to be lapping them up – their claps and cheers increasing between each track – apart from the idiot who threw a pint glass at Spence, whose reactions she has to thank from saving her from a broken nose and a soaking. “My bite is worse than my bark” states a clearly pissed off Spence. I must add that although the rest of the band were tight and technical, I quickly bored of Spence’s vocals, especially as it sounded like she was “singing” the same “words” throughout the whole set.

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Next up is Toronto’s Fucked Up, and it’s quite an apt name for some of the things that happened during tonight’s set. Fucked Up’s sound is straight up Hardcore – sensible punk with that slightly sloppy edge, and the majority of the crowd love it, with a large contingent pogoing down the front. Down the front is also where you find giant man-beast vocalist Pink Eyes, and it gets pretty fucked up when he goes topless during the second song! Also fucked up was the amount of crowd surfers a lone security guy had to deal with down the front – he coped really well and everyone appeared to get over the barrier safely – good work that man!

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Just as he thinks his work load can’t get any larger, Pink Eyes jumps the barrier, and proceeds to spend about half of the set walking around the audience with the mic cable wrapped around his head, interacting with the fans, and singing his heart out while the fans are slapping his gut in the friendliest of ways. At one point, Pink Eyes ends up sat on the bar at the back of the venue – that’s pretty fucked up. I think that the one-on-one interaction between band and audience means that the audience is that little bit more appreciative of Fucked Up, and that the fans of their music get a little bit more than they were expecting.

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Finally, tonight’s headliners are Los Angeles’ The Bronx, and their brand of punk is sure to shred everyone’s face here. Coming onstage to a Mariachi intro tape (hurry up and release the mariachi album, boys!), it only takes two songs before vocalist Matt Caughthran is singing whilst crowd surfing – not unusual for him, but still a sight to behold. Partway through the set, Caughthran admits that, as it’s the last night of the tour, he’s a little drunk – “We’re on the same page now” he reasons with the audience.

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The highlight of the set for me was an awesome run through 2008’s eponymous album opener “Knifeman”, which was performed with vigor by a band that was clearly having a lot of fun. As a bit of “last day of school” fun, they re-introduce Pink Eyes from Fucked Up to the crowd for a cover of Black Flag’s “Police Story”. This is followed by set closer “Heart Attack American” from 2003’s self titled album (all their albums are self-titled, just to confuse matters)! All in all, a great set from the happy and drunk Bronx guys brings the show and tour to an end.

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Review – Tony Hackett
Photos – Steve Gerrard

One Response to “The Bronx + Fucked Up + Rolo Tomassi @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 6th March 2009”

  1. Terra Says:

    Good review mate!

    Although you forgot the rather amusing cover of Bro Hymn! what a way to get a crowd going!

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