Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Nov 25th 2009 4:06AM by Matt Glazebrook
Happily, our amiable Euro-vaqueros faced no such danger on a night heavy on good humour and sing-a-longs, despite the gritty traditions of the rebel music invoked onstage. Mariachi El Bronx -- the acoustic, tequila-infused alter-egos of Los Angeles punk bruisers the Bronx -- may be surprised by their UK popularity ("Last night in Oxford I was talking to a mom who was into mariachi music and a daughter who likes punk bands," recalled Ford pre-gig. "That's the Bronx, bringing families together!"), but it was easy to see why their euphoric live show has transcended cultural boundaries.
Stocky, grizzled vocalist Matt Caugthran, when he wasn't beaming like a particularly beatific Staffordshire bull terrier, demonstrated vocal chops far beyond the standard hardcore bark. In his hands, the vengeful refrain of stand out 'Holy' -- "Mother Mary, let them all die slowly" -- sounded far more plaintive and lovely than it had any right to.
The packed auditorium gave the feel of a homecoming show. A buoyant 'Slave Labor,' dedicated to the band's earlier selves on their first UK tour as the Bronx, added to the celebratory vibe. Elsewhere, covers of Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U' and Warren Zevon's 'Carmelita.' and a brand new Christmas tune called 'Lady Rosales.' fleshed out a Mariachi El Bronx-heavy set, before an ultra-rare outing for the spine-tingling 'My Love' and a joyous 'Clown Powder' sent the odd mix of tattooed and pierced hardcore kids and corduroy-clad mums and dads swaying happily out into the night.