Saturday 26 November 2011

A very Mariachi Thanksgiving – Mariachi El Bronx Live Review

Mariachi El Bronx
It’s that time of year again; no, not Christmas, but the event before- Thanksgiving. And this Thanksgiving was set to be one of the best yet.  The Est.1987 crew were invited down to Leeds Cockpit to spend an evening with Mariachi El Bronx (MEB).

You may think the name sounds familiar, and you would be correct. MEB is the alter ego of yes, you guessed it, hardcore punk rockers Bronx.  Then again, the connection isn’t really obvious at all- MEB are the stellar opposite of Bronx. While Bronx are focussed on hardcore rhythms and punk vocals, MEB embody the mariachi ensemble. Originating in Mexico,  mariachi musical style is typified by its indulgence in stringed instruments and soaked in Mexico’s history. Tonight's show is the hot ticket of the evening and has been upgraded to The Cockpit’s largest room, so it is with great expectation we head to the festivities.

Bronx as we usually recognise them.
Mariachi El Bronx on stage at The Cockpit
The eight piece band take to the stage in the flamboyant Mariachi attire, diverging from Bronx’s usual sound to deliver the up-tempo, lyrical “48 Roses”. The music of MEB truly seems to reach every member of the audience this evening. Laced in allegory it has a folklore quality to it, which combined with stringed instruments, strikes a chord with its listener. Lead singer, Matt Caughthran, appears quite at home fronting this project; yet understands that this is an ensemble adventure and is certain to humbly thank his on-stage comrades. 
Lead singer Matt Caughthran
Ray Suen on violin

MEB are flawless in their delivery; a tight unit that genuinely possess ease in their stage presence. They breeze through “Litigation” and “Great Provider”, pausing upon “Holy” as Caughthran announces that this one will take us on a “Sexy cruise to Armageddon”. He is witty and endearing as he entertains the crowd with the stories which the songs so heavily rely upon. We listen how the intricate and dramatic “Silver Or Lead” stems from a saying that you pay with your money or your life. These theatricalities embody the essence of the mariachi. Caughthran declares “it’s fucking Thanksgiving, let’s rebel” and the barrage of stringed instruments continues. “Norteño Lights” is a crowd favourite and the room fills with the vivacious chant “Como te llamas? Como te llamas?” But before the questions are answered the night has come to an end, albeit too soon for the eager crowd.

Mariachi El Bronx 2011 album
MEB are a band that has fully enveloped themselves in the mariachi genre and, whether or not Bronx fans find this newer persona hard to take in, they are unquestionably endearing. However, more than that, MEB are doing something that should be out of their comfort zone, yet do it so well and, in a musical world of copy-cats and wannabes, are succeeding in something that is truly niche and unique.
For video performances check out our YouTube channel

Check out Mariachi El Bronx on tour in collaboration with Vans "Off The Wall Music Night"