Watching a mariachi band isn’t something I’ve often done. Alright, before this I’d never seen a mariachi band. Where does one even go to watch a mariachi band? Manchester…apparently. Alright this wasn’t any old mariachi band, this was Mariachi El Bronx – side project of Los Angeles hardcore band The Bronx – and they were as off the wall and awesome as I expected.
There was a real vaudevillian atmosphere about the whole show. I don’t know what it was, but everything seemed so theatrical, something that’s probably down to all the ‘banter’ between songs. I like to see artists interacting with the crowd, but this was too much. Lead singer, Matt Caughthran stopped to explain each song and talk about how much he loved being in Manchester. That’s all well and good, but it broke up the flow of the show a bit too much, and I left feeling a lot of that time might have been best served playing more songs. Granted, a lot of this could be down to the complex nature of the band and them having to set up, but it just seemed a little too much.
Aside from this, the show was fantastic. The band kicked the night off perfectly with ’48 Roses’ and continued to impress with every song that followed. The setlist had everything an El Bronx fan could want, playing an abundance of songs from both records, recognizing the fact that they hadn’t really toured in this form before. By the end of the set, Matt has gotten the crowd into a frenzy and everyone was singing and dancing along.
The band left the stage and, surprisingly, didn’t return for an encore. It was unusual, but I left contented. I’d gotten exactly what I wanted out of an El Bronx show, and it seemed like everyone else had too. Matt could’ve definitely cut down on that banter though. We might have had a few more chances to sing and dance with one of the most interesting bands of the past few years.