Review: Broncho at Subterranean Is Genuinely Fun Without Pretense

There’s something very awkward but freeing about attending a music event alone.

Broncho‘s show at Subterranean last week happened to be scheduled during one of the most anticipated nights of Pitchfork, and all of my concert buddies were firmly committed to staying at Union Park.

As a self-proclaimed reclusive extrovert, I felt a sense of both trepidation and excitement to see them play a second time—this time by myself.

In the midst of all the festival hype, Subterranean became a sort of refuge from the world of overpriced food and drinks and waiting in line for a precarious trip to the Port-O-Potty. While Pitchfork was an overwhelming swarm of strangers in the park, Sub-T was a cozy and very welcoming, intimate vibe.

LA’s Billy Changer kicked things off with a solid set of mostly new material that set the tone for the night. The buzz in the humid summer air grew into a full cicada frenzy as Broncho took the stage.

The Oklahoma natives have a reputation for touring a lot as well as their energetic shows. The first time I saw them play was when they opened for Guided by Voices at the Metro. Unfortunately, despite their upbeat performance, the overall sound in the venue fell flat that night. Luckily, last week’s show had excellent sound with the vocals and low end coming through perfectly.

Although they’ve just released a new single called “Get In My Car,” their setlist was mostly a mix of songs spanning their collection including the ever-so-sassy “What” and “Class Historian,” which is another one of my personal favorites.

The quartet continued to zip through each song without letting too much time elapse in between, keeping everyone engaged without causing a lull in the night’s mood.

Ryan Lindsey bobbed up and down during each transition, strumming the next song’s opening chord relentlessly as he let the tension in the room build up. After nearly a minute, the hypnotic repetition suddenly transformed into the beginning of “Jenny Loves Jenae.”

Bassist Penny Pitchlynn’s backing vocals paired perfectly with Lindsey’s as the crowd continued to bob along in time, perfectly synchronized with his cadence.

The beauty of Broncho is that their music is genuinely fun without any pretense. It’s straightforward rock music that makes you dance and feel silly like a kid messily eating ice cream without a care in the world. It’s just a really damn good time.

As they finished the set, the crowd chanted for an encore–the ultimate testament to a great show. After a minute or so, the band filed back down the spiral stairs and officially closed things out with two more songs (no, they did not play “Fantasy Boys”).

The house lights came on shortly after, and I somehow found myself outside chatting with some of the members of both bands. They were all incredibly nice and down to earth as one might expect, and it ended up being an amazing night for good music and good conversation. All without the pricey drinks, long lines and uncomfortable crowds.

Jennifer Roger
Jennifer Roger

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