The Bronx with The Swayback and Signal to Noise at Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO - 12/4/04
The way it goes for most all-ages shows at the Larimer Lounge is that the venue reaches (and sometimes seems to exceed) its capacity of 250. There was no exception to this general rule when The Bronx brought their brains-bashing brand of punk rock from Los Angeles to the Larimer this past Saturday night. However, it seemed as though the majority of the near-capacity crowd consisted of dedicated fans of long-time Denver favorites The Swayback as well as of a newer band that is quickly gaining popularity called Signal to Noise. Both bands have just returned from separate tours where most of their shows were concentrated in Los Angeles, and each band fared exceptionally well. Upon being asked if the band was considering a move to L.A, Eric Halborg (singer and bassist of The Swayback) replied, Were not going anywhere, which should come as a relief to fans who fear that the bands momentum is leading to an imminent change of location due to their rising success. Everyone in L.A. kept saying, Oh, we love whats happening in Colorado, so we go there and were treated like superstars and then we get to come back to our greatest fans, continued Halborg in appreciation of Denver.
What is most admirable about the Denver scene is the camaraderie among the bands. When Signal to Noise took the stage, Halborg was among the enthusiastic observers of the band. Nolans a rock star, proclaimed Halborg in reference to Signal to Noise guitarist Nolan Aldridge, who briefly enjoyed a stint with The Swayback as their drummer before joining his current outfit. Indeed, Aldridge rocked hard, but the same goes for the entire band. Throughout their set, Signal to Noise blazed through scorching songs such as Smoking Gun and Oh My Signal in which bassist Tristan Shaffer traded screams tit-for-tat with guitarist Tim Clearys breathy disclosures. The bands democracy allows for a free exchange of ideas that keeps everyone in check and equal in what we each bring to the band, said Aldridge. In reciprocal fashion, Aldridge was in the crowd to check out The Swayback when they started to play. He was one of many in the crowd that night that had yet to see The Swayback perform with their new drummer, Martijn Bolster. The Swayback marked their return by ripping through familiar numbers like Jon Merrick Blues and Distinguished Guest at the Downtrodden Ball, two tracks that have finally reached maturity, but there were quite a few new additions to the set-list. The bands Manchester influences (The Fall, Joy Division) remain an integral part of the overall sound, yet the live sances are now enlivened by the recognition of Australian heroes. Forewarned is a scrupulously crafted pop song that melds an influence of The Churchs early work with The Swaybacks trademark sinful despair, while Earring in the Shag is as good of a garage-rock song akin to Radio Birdman that anyone could ask for.
In short, The Swayback and Signal to Noise each tenderized the crowd enough for The Bronx to unload on Denver that night. To date, The Bronx only has only released a sole full-length LP, but they told the crowd that this night was the last time The Bronx are gonna play here for a long, long, long time because The Bronx are goin away for awhile to record their new record. The Bronx ripped a new shithole for everyone in attendance, but they did slow it down a bit to cover the Neil Young classic Needle and the Damage Done, which was dedicated to Ray Charles and ODB; although they might as well have added Rick James to the list for good measure. After the song, The Bronx vocalist Matt Craughthran held a serious chat with the crowd about fictional entities such as Santa Claus, storks and unicorns about which he said, Unicorns dont exist, but you know what fuckin does? Cancer! at which point guitarist Joby J. Ford began to play the beginning notes of White Tar, a song aboutyou guessed it: Cancer! If The Bronx records their new LP as quickly as they can play their songs, it wont be long before the band reintroduces the spread of their virus-inducing bedlam to Denver.
Releases from the Swayback can be purchased at InterPunk
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