The Bronx / Ladyfinger/ Winnebago Deal - The Roadhouse Manchester 18.10.06

Austere backward gazing rock with hurried tension and boldly caustic vocals provided by Chris introduces Omaha, Nebraska’s Ladyfinger. Defying common convention by reaching a snappy pace with percussion and guitar rhythm and being able to maintain it for four minutes via ‘Who Believes Enough’, gives these feral rockers an edge. The grunge permeating vocals are at their most pronounced in this number to highlight the lyrical snap;

“Who has enough patience to wait for something better to come?  I know that I am not the one,
who knows a face that you can trust?.”

Slowly the mixture of adventurous indie kids and gnarly rockers present, drop their guard and let Ladyfinger touch their minds and push their bodies. The shimmering 70s British rock-out of ‘Too Cool For School’ facilitates this the aim the most. The set picks up pace in a post-rock fashion, with a melodic grind keeping thinks ticking over. A snapped guitar string during the throttling closer of ‘Smuggler’ does not put the focused and fiery quartet off one bit.

Oxfordshire pairing of Ben Perrier and Ben Thomas has been crashing round the UK in steadfast belief in the tension ripping sound for several years now. Winnebago Deal’s early EP, ‘Plato O Plomo’ lit the touch paper and they have just kept on building. Tonight, they display variety, the customary ram-raiding percussion and bolting guitars. The throaty vocal bite of Perrier, if anything has upped in focus and intensity, as the Fu Manchu styled ‘Black Spider’ draws out. It has taken a while for the thrust and intensity of the Deal to reach out, but impartial observers tonight, soon joined the freewheeling bandwagon.

The main difference between the headliners and the two support acts this evening has nothing to do with ability, just their approach. Front man of The Bronx, Matt Caughthran forms a cocky and strutting presence, often adding one member to the tightly packed crowd. This implies that modern rock is still shrouded in a veil of pretension, as he does give the impression of being more spit and froth than steel, as early on he labouredly snarls through offerings from their two albums so far. The band is well knit enough and the backing vocals provide a spring board for the ripping rock and splash of emo punk.

Of the new album tracks, ‘Your Shitty Future’ harks back to the inception of punk, combing bewilderment and angst. Helping to revive the set and causing ruptures in the crowd. It is the raw and searing, metal skirting ‘Stop The Bleeding’, from the 2003 EP ‘La Muerta Viva’ that captures the true determination and combined force of The Bronx.  With the brazen ‘False Alarm’, we are ensured an energetic and sincere ending to proceedings. The early procrastination that delayed the start of their set by 15 minutes, coupled often inaudible rants from Caughtran renders the 45 minute stage time a tad disappointing.

David Adair

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