show review

Bronze Radio Return @ Rumba Cafe 10/21

                                                                                                                                                          (Picture Courtesy of Press Here Publicity)
Nick Lotz

When Bronze Radio Return (hereafter referred to as BRR) walks on stage, there’s no intro, no warming up the crowd, they just drop right away into “Further On” singing “lead your way/sing your song,” and there’s a slick harmonica solo and fun, jammy guitars in the background, and I like it.

Before the concert had started, I interviewed who is apparently BRR’s biggest fan, a woman named Katie Tujend from Scranton Pennsylvania (When I mention The Office, she says “That’s all people know about it.”) She’s there with her friend, Zach Rife, a less amused and enthralled individual who says he is only at the concert because he was promised tickets to a Browns game. Katie, on the other hand, has traveled as far as the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware to see BRR. She likes their new album Light Me Up, which is what the band is currently touring to promote, but insists that their best work is on Shake, Shake, Shake.

Back to the future, in the concert, Chris is shouting at the crowd “We feeling good tonight?” and the crowd cheers back. The crowd is laid back, a button down flannel kind of group.

After playing some of their more obscure hits for the die-hard fans, Chris name drops his new album, (Light Me Up), and they play a slow song that I thoroughly enjoy, “Good Company” off the aforementioned album. “I could be hard/ I could be weak/ I can be anything you need.”  The mantra of a true performer, and the sound setup for the show is quite solid.

Then, without warning, BRR blast into “Light Me Up,” the hit song off the album of the same name. “If you’re feeling good/ that’s all I need to know.” I look around. I feel pretty good and it looks like everyone else feels good also. I guess that’s all he needed to know.

Chris let's us on in the secret, before dropping into ‘Rough Town,” that the previous song’s lyrics came from asking the crowd ”How you feeling tonight?” There’s not a whole lot of depth to the stage commentary, but it is a goddamn fun show.

“Rough Town,” as I found out during my interview, is about the band’s life in Hartford Connecticut, self-proclaimed murder capital of the North East. I hadn’t heard it before the show, but there’s a pounding bass and a wailing chorus with snare riffs. It’s upbeat and dancey, yet kind of melancholic, like hey, us Hartford people, we beat the odds living in this “Rough Town.” There’s an organ solo at some point. I like it.

The guitar player breaks down into a sweet solo with the bass dropping riffs behind it and BRR jams out in a way I did not know they were capable of. It’s improvised and fun and fantastic. It fades out and the guitarist then plays some blues guitar stuff alongside yet another wailing harmonica solo which leads to a pounding outro with a synth organ. It sounds real groovy and reminds me of the 80s Eddie Murphy vehicle-flick “Beverly Hills Cop,” and then they break down into ‘Only Temporary,” my favorite song off the album, and I love it, but it seems like all of their fans are like, “Buh?”

Chris is quite the showman on stage. He does hand gestures and wacky facial expressions and it really adds some levity to the performance. I’m sure if the venue had room to dance he’d be laying down some sweet footwork.

​I ask my plus one, hereafter referred to as Alex Smith, what he thought of the show, and he says “They were awesome for that one song when they jammed. The rest is too poppy. But I saw a lot of potential with that one jam out song.”