Live Review: The Bronx / Culture Abuse – Gorilla, Manchester, UK, 10th June 2018

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The Bronx / Culture Abuse

Gorilla, Manchester, UK - 10th June 2018

Due to complications on the door we arrive into the sold out and very sweaty confines of Gorilla just in time to catch Culture Abuse on their second visit to the UK, and their long overdue and very welcome return to Manchester. The band are touring Europe with The Bronx in support of their stunning new full length, their first for Epitaph Records, Bay DreamGorilla is completely sold out for tonight’s show and we see numerous people turned away whilst we were outside, the majority are undoubtedly here for the headline act but for me both bands hold an equal appeal, and judging by the crowd that has assembled early to catch Culture Abuse I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Culture Abuse take to the stage later than planned and take their places whilst their guitarist delivers a extended introduction before they kick into gear with Calm E from Bay Dream, a track that hits you like a wall when it bursts into life. From the off it’s clear that Culture Abuse have lost none of their live intensity since we last caught them two long years ago, the beginning of their set is unsurprisingly centred around their new album and live the new material gains an added urgency. Their front man, David Kelling, for the most part stays rock solid stage centre, around him the bands three hyperactive guitarists generate an impressive wall of noise, one that is accompanied by a thunderous beat that emerges out of the cloud of dry ice that has enveloped the stage.

In between songs Culture Abuse are laid back, this is not surprising given the band’s public love for cannabis, and this is reflected in the unique intense stoner vibe that is incorporated into their albums and live appearances . Their debut album Peach isn’t ignored as Dream On gets a welcome airing before they resume their casual in between song banter, including dealing with a heckler in a manner that would make The Big Lebowski proud. They continue their intense set with Jealous, that unexpectedly breaks out into Wipe Out mid song, before it kicks back into life, breaks down and finally ends in a final chaotic flurry that segues into their final song, Turn It Off. The rest of the band depart the stage leaving David Kelling alone made stage uttering weird echoing vocalisations amidst a wall of feedback.

Culture Abuse for me they are one of the most original acts, both live and in studio, out there at the moment and I just hope they don’t leave it two years before they return to out shores again. Tonight’s short set, and their previous support slot two years ago, just aren’t long enough and I’m left wishing they were headlining, tonight’s curfew wasn’t so early or that Culture Abuse hadn’t started their set later than planned so we could have heard more from Bay Dream. For me there really is no one else quite like Culture Abuse on the scene at the moment and due to circumstances beyond our control you also get to see a full set of pictures from tonight’s all too brief set.

For some reason we were only given permission to photograph Culture Abuse tonight, something we’ve not encountered before, and a somewhat baffling decision, so the headline act won’t have any photography. Matt Caughthran utters the words “Manchester lets fuck shit up” before stagediving into the crowd in the first number to kick start a full tilt set to what feels live an oversold Gorilla, it’s not even standing room only tonight and as a result the venue feels somewhat claustrophobic, a feeling that makes me look forward to catching them again at a larger venue later this year when they will be returning to the UK to appear on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour, along with Flogging Molly, Face To Face and Lost In Stereo.

The Bronx deliver a full blooded set of their hardcore that goes down a storm with their faithful that are crammed into Gorilla like sardines, the band acknowledge those who’ve come out tonight on a weekend when pretty much every venue in Manchester has someone playing, they clearly hit the right note with the crowd as tonight there was stage diving on a level I haven’t encountered since I saw Suicidal Tendencies at the long deceased venue, the Manchester International. Tonight’s show by The Bronx reminds you of just how chaotic, sweaty and joyful punk shows can be, and aside from the fact that you can’t get to the bar, or move more than a few feet, tonight’s show was a triumphant return to the UK.

Tonight The Bronx delivered a heavyweight set that encompassed their entire back catalogue, including their forthcoming album V, the relentless set energised tonight’s sold out crowd. I must say I have never encountered Gorilla quite as packed out as it was tonight which meant that were those in the crowd who ended up watching their set from the back of the venue, or even from the exit corridor. For me the show would have been better suited to a larger venue as tonight felt very claustrophobic in the confines of Gorilla, I also wish we could have shown you a few shots from their set tonight, something we can hopefully resolve when we catch them again on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour.

The Bronx‘s website is located here

Culture Abuse‘s website is here

The Punk Site review of Bay Dream can be read here

Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here and you can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images