BRONCHO brought its indiscernible lyrics and heavy bassline to the Metro Gallery stage in Baltimore on April 2, 2019, performing its latest album “Bad Behavior.” BRONCHO, hailing from Norman, Oklahoma, is a combination of earth-shaking bass, heavy and alluring vocals filled with euphemisms and metaphors, and rhythmic drum beats.
Ryan Lindsey, lead singer and guitarist, is far from an image-obsessed indie star. He is dressed in gray sweatpants that look to be several sizes too large, a huge white t-shirt and a black beanie, all of which combine to make his silhouette much bulkier than his actual thin figure. When he takes the stage with drummer Nathan Price and bassist Penny Pitchlynn, the lights on stage project the recognizable red from their newest record. As the band begins to play through “Bad Behavior,” Lindsey stares blankly and hauntingly out into the crowd, a far cry from the rocker chic persona both Price and Pitchlynn seem to exude.
Lindsey’s voice is ugly, slurring out sexual innuendos in a high-pitched voice, even grunting at some points. The album’s cover art, featuring a tongue licking at what appear to be cherries, matches perfectly with the record’s thematic nature: guttural magnetism. The album is so cohesive and the songs fit perfectly together that they are almost indistinguishable from one another. However, BRONCHO is clearly not known for its lyrics which are rarely understandable. Pitchlynn’s bass, Lindsey’s grotesque yet unavoidable voice and the songs’ clever catchy hooks, like in “Sandman,” are what loop listeners in.
At first, Lindsey seems stiff, almost awkward or maybe nervous, standing mostly still and tapping his feet. He ignores the enthusiastic and inebriated audience members directly in front of him until they offer him a beer, which he gladly takes. Slowly but surely, he gradually loosens up, shaking his hips and occasionally throwing a hand into the air. Between each song he stutters out unintelligible sounds, “eh eh ey!” All the while, Pitchlynn on the other side of the stage steadily strums out the signature BRONCHO bassline, in her own world, shaking her head back and forth. Lindsey leans into the microphone and utters a few words, “Baltimore, you look good. And you look good.”
BRONCHO’s music has been described by their record label, Dine Alone Records, as “gritty 70’s punk and glammy surf rock vibes,” and Lindsey himself has called it a “slow head bang.” The crowd seems to agree, swaying along or even performing an interpretive dance which one man in the audience chose to do.
The trio plays through all of “Bad Behavior,” barely deviating to play a song or two from their three other albums. Those other albums have produced BRONCHO songs that were featured in commercials for Fabletics and shows like “Santa Clarita Diet” and “Girls.” But in 2018, with their latest album, BRONCHO strayed from its commercial success.
“Bad Behavior” is the first album BRONCHO released that really forms around a single sound. Their other three albums, especially “Double Vanity,” tone down Lindsey’s voice behind the sounds of a gritty electric guitar, making the songs a bit more palatable for the commercial public—but that’s what makes “Bad Behavior” so much better. The album’s intentional choice to lean towards what differentiates the band makes it stand out as something more than just another grunge-punk band piece. Like The Drums, BRONCHO uses its “ugly voice” sound instead of attempting to hide it. And it works.
At the end of the performance, as most bands do, Lindsey thanks the two other bands for their performances. In Baltimore, local band Reagan Cats along with Montreal punk/garage rock band, Lemongrab opened for BRONCHO. “Thank you Reagan Cats. We would like to thank Reagan Cats. And we would like to thank Reagan Cats,” Lindsey mumbled, moaning in between each phrase. “And all the way from Montreal California, is Lemongrab. And thank you Lemongrab. Not to forget, all the way from Montreal California, thank you Lemongrab.”
And as strangely as it begins, Lindsey finishes his extensive and repetitive thank you’s, ending the show with one last song, a fitting but bizarre ending to the concert of a bizarrely incredible band. Lindsey steps off the stage, drunk, sweaty and by the looks of it, satisfied.