Don Broco | Alexandra Palace, London | 11/11/2017
Review by Philip Marsden
On Saturday Night (11th November 2017), alt-rockers Don Broco played their first ever headline arena show to a sold out Alexandra Palace.
Don Broco are a band who are right at the top of the alternative music scene, but are hovering just below the threshold of becoming a household name. Their musical style can be hard to pin down, ranging from the hard rock vibes of “Priorities” (2012) to the more pop-based sounds of “Automatic” (2015) and recently, delving into even heavier, catchier and more unique styles with the singles from their upcoming album “Technology.” Despite this variation, their music always carries an unmistakable, signature sound and “laddish” charm. Saturday’s performance, with support from Counterfeit and State Champs, marked the beginning of a new era in the band’s career and did so in great style.
UK punk rock band, Counterfeit and American pop-punk titans State Champs kicked off the night fantastically. Despite the sheer size of Ally Pally (Which is a 10,000 cap venue), both bands filled the stage brilliantly and had the majority of the audience captivated and singing along, which can be hard for smaller bands to pull off when supporting in large arenas like this.
Shortly after State Champs had finished, the huge main room of the venue really began to fill out with excited fans, eager to expel their energy jumping and dancing to their favourite band. The atmosphere really reminded you how big this particular concert was going to be, both for the Don Broco and for their loyal fan base. As soon as the lights dimmed and the band took to the stage, jump and dance is exactly what the crowd did and it became clear that this was going to be an energetic show, even by Don Broco’s standards. The response to the opening track and title track from their upcoming album “Technology,” followed by the already well known hit, “Everybody,” was immense and filled the room with movement, mosh pits, singing and applause.
After getting the audience warmed up with these newer tracks, the band took a step back to their previous, more pop oriented album, Automatic. “Fire” was a stand out track here. It’s huge, catchy chorus (which you may have caught on our @globalsoundgroup Instagram story) and driving bass line filled the room with singing and set the venue alight, leaving the band visibly ecstatic from the sound of their lyrics behind sung back at them. The stage was then lit up in vibrant pink and blue as they played the title track, “Automatic.” Despite the band suggesting in various interviews that they were pushed towards the sound of their second album by their label (They don’t include any songs from Automatic in their “Don Broco: Best Of” Spotify playlist), the tracks off of it were played with, and greeted with, the same energy as always.
Not before taking the audience back to some classics from their first album with the ever catchy “Hold On” and “Actors,” Don Broco wound the set down for a couple of acoustic songs – something that I personally have not seen them do before. This was pulled off very well, with Rob Damiani and guitarist Simon Delaney taking to stools, before being joined by the rest of the band at the end of “Yeah Man.” Once the sea of sweaty fans had had a well-deserved rest and a sing-song, Don Broco threw them in at the deep end with their heaviest and oldest song, “Thug Workout” – A fan favourite and almost a parody song, which hasn’t even made it onto the band’s Spotify page. Damiani expressed his humble amazement for the band’s achievements, saying “When we wrote this song, maybe ten years ago, we had no idea we’d be playing it in a place as big as this.” The crowd at this point was the rowdiest it had been all night, with mosh pits left, right and centre.
Perhaps the only low of the night was “Further,” a track from Automatic that rarely makes it onto the setlist. The band were joined on vocals by Ryan Scott Graham, bassist of State Champs, which was great to see, but the song itself didn’t exactly thrill everybody in the room, perhaps because it was never released as a single. Remarkably, the most notable song was the newly released “T-Shirt Song,” which was Annie Mac’s “hottest record in the world” earlier this month. Despite only being out for a couple of weeks, the audience seemed to know every word and did exactly what the lyrics said: “I Take my T-Shirt off, Swing it around my head.”
The show was drawing to a close and just before the last song there was a surprise onstage proposal from two long time fans of the band. This gave Don Broco the perfect excuse to put on the wedding suits from their “Pretty” music video, spray some confetti and bow out. Pretty was released back in May and has become and has become an instant favourite among fans with it’s catchy lyrics and huge guitar riff – this was a perfect end to the show.
Don Broco’s first ever arena show was a night to remember and has cemented the fact that guitar music is alive and well in the UK. Their Album “Technology” is out on 2nd February 2018 and the band kick off their UK tour on 8th February, starting in Portsmouth. After Saturday night, those shows will be a must-see for 2018.