\Wednesday, 05 April 2006
Los Angeles greaser-punkers the Bronx played a set that served notice that they might be the best live punk band in the universe.
Wrote opening act Riddle of Steel in an alarmist MySpace bulletin: “If you arrive at 7 p.m., you will be too late to see us, and most likely you won’t get in because this shit will SELL THE FUCK OUT. ARRIVE EARLY. 6:30pm.”
And on February 15, in front of the Creepy Crawl, a group of people had arrived early. Whether or not ROS’s message prompted them was unknown. However, the warning turned out to be unnecessary, as Riddle didn’t start playing until 7:20—and the crowd, though solid, was not at capacity.
After ROS and Ottawa, Canada’s Buried Inside came the thundering drum-and-bass duo, Big Business. Big Business had played the STL on two previous occasions, both performances rather dull and disappointing. This time would be different.
As they took stage, it was apparent that Big Business had brought along some new twists. Aurally, Jared Warren’s vocal effects were far more noticeable than before. In fact, before they started, Warren wrapped his mic with a dingy, old-man hanky. Also at his feet was a wired toy keyboard that he stepped on throughout the show.
By adding new tracks from their four-track, tour-only CD, Big Business breathed some freshness into their set. They also touched on tunes from their debut Head for the Shallow, including “O.G.,” “Easter Romantic,” and “Off Off Broadway.” For the first time in three St. Louis appearances, Big Business received a healthy dose of claps and appreciation from the assembled masses.
Los Angeles greaser-punkers the Bronx played a set that served notice that they might be the best live punk band in the universe. Sailing their ship to sea, Matt Caughthran masterfully guided the Bronx through their set. As they opened with “Heart Attack American,” their fans screamed in recognition. Fast, raucous, and filled with positive energy, Caughthran—sporting a Kix “Blown Fuse Tour 1989” tee—moved around the stage testifying his way through “White Tar,” “They Will Kill Us All,” “Bats,” and others, passing out dedications left and right. Recipients included the ocean, the Creepy Crawl bar staff, Dapper Dan’s, and former NFL running back Sammy Winder. Through all this, Caughthran even found time to jump into the crowd for a little bonding. Verdict: an excellent set by an excellent band.
Then came High on Fire, which brought to mind the infamous Casey Kasem outtakes in which the furious DJ profanely complained about the transition that led from an upbeat song straight into a long-distance dedication about the death of a little dog named Snuggles. This night had a similar situation, minus one dead canine.
After the Bronx’s up-tempo set, transitioning back to High on Fire’s vibe was impossible. High on Fire are without a doubt one of the best metal outfits in the world today. However, given the circumstances on this night, High on Fire was an annoying and colossal bore.