Live Music: Mariachi El Bronx @ Brooklyn Bowl

“This One’s For Cupid, The Motherf*cker!”

The above mischievous title was one of the earlier moments and comments from the joyous beaming face of Matt Caughthran, the lead singer (and one of the best front men around) of the band Mariachi El Bronx (it in itself an alter ego extension of the awesome L.A. hardcore punk band The Bronx) who have come to the Brooklyn Bowl based in the The O2 to basically be ALL our Valentine for the night.

The entire band kitted out in their resplendent mariachi uniforms were here to share the Love with us all, and Matt’s comment set the joyous tone. We were all here for good times (the constant immense response from the sold out crowd made that very clear), but as we all know, love can kick like a mule sometimes, leaving us winded, gasping and hiding in dark places, and though it may not sound like a good sales pitch to check them out (and you MUST!), their music at times deals with such moments in all our lives, and it’s all the more poignantly beautiful for it.


Taking their outstanding musicianship and complexity of the mariachi style and blending them with tales that are at times extremely dark, but real, truthful, tender and brimming with love and hope, they sugar the pill of a much needed medicine with honesty, integrity and candour, all the elements of a beautiful relationship. A relationship that hugs and comforts us in our darker moments, because they have been there too.

And that is what tonight is all about as well. Continuing their courtship with us that has lasted over three albums (the excellent Mariachi El Bronx III having being the recently released), we get to know them more, and our affection grows deeper, and we all celebrate together in open joy.

Playing some tracks spanning the earlier albums for the devout (48 Roses) , it’s the numerous tracks from the latest album that soar with their fuller, almost richer soundscape, and fuller also in the (rightfully) ever increasing size of crowds who are getting to experience El Bronx, who may even turn out to be more successful that their The Bronx incarnation (whom you must also check out).

There must be a mention of opening support act Pounded By the Surf, who amongst them are two members of The Bronx. Playing a vibe of 50’s surf music via the club scene in David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me and The Shadows. Again that may not sound like a recommendation, but they got a roaring response for their dark and playful instrumental groove, yet another band to go check out.

So Mariachi El Bronx came to London on this saints day of love, and shared the love they did. An immense night of fun, laughter, smiles, and well warmed hearts (a huge amount of new fans were made), making moments that warm your soul for years. Check them out as soon as you can, hopefully on their current tour.

A final small comment on the venue Brooklyn Bowl itself. It was my first time being there and what a fantastic spot it is. Excellent sound system, with a bowling alley and a restaurant all part of the same open space. It may sound like lunacy, but it works really well, I’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing gigs there in the future, especially if they sort out the extremely slow serving bar staff.


Mariachi El Bronx III is out now. Check for tour details.

Steve Clarke

Born in Celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by Hunter S. Thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.