Don Broco – Leeds Academy – 17/02/18
A top 5 album? Check. A sold out UK tour? Check. A rough and ready crowd that can’t get enough of groove, rock riffs and bouncing around for 90 minutes? Check. Don Broco (8.5) were in town and as expected, to a sold out O2 Academy in Leeds.
Opening their set with their Ally Pally closer, Pretty, the Southern powerhouses immediately captured the floor making them jump up and down to the infectious grooves, a common theme that would run through the night. Having been one of the more popular of the single releases on the run up to their new album, Technology, it would only be fitting for the crowd to be as rambunctious as possible from the get go. Immediately followed by ‘Everybody’, a cowboy hat flies across the room as Damiani opens the pit up for a wall of death during the songs breakdown…yeah, we didn’t really expect that either, but needless to say, it went pretty well as it wasn’t the last of the evening.
Whilst this was all well and good, these two openers have been singles for a little while now, the real test was seeing how new material translated on smaller shows. The first real glimpse of this came in the form of Stay Ignorant, five songs in, as to ease the crowd in and get them all warmed up. We have, and always will say, Tom Doyle is one of the grooviest and underrated bassists in the British music scene currently, as proved with the epic bass lick played throughout this song. Combined with Si Delaney’s tasteful guitar licks, which compliment the bass and also allow for high kicks a gymnast would be jealous of, the band rattled through the song with perfect harmony and comfort. Spot on.
With such a large back catalogue of absolute bangers, it would be unjust to just play newer material, so a throwback to the perfect bouncing tempo’d, ‘You Wanna Know’, then funk rock belters ‘Superlove’ and ‘Automatic’ solidifies people haven’t forgotten this material and still love it like it was fresh out of the oven.
The next taste of brand new material comes in the form of ‘Porkies’, easily one of the stand out songs from Technology. The drums and distorted bass fill the O2 Academy, dropping into a raw and intense performance from Rob Damiani, singing and shouting with arguably more passion in this song than he has some of the more delicate songs. With Matt Donnelly continuing his harmonising in the background, melody takes over until the pit and wall of death once again opens up for the drop in the middle of the song, which strangely then turns into a large sway as the song takes it melodic turn towards it’s climax.
‘Priorities’ soon follows, which honestly feels like a bit of a safety song in this set, which could have been replaced with a new song such as Good Listener or Potty Mouth, which would’ve fit the rock vibe Priorities is famed for.
‘Greatness’ sees it’s second live running after debuting in Manchester the night prior, another song which could have easily been a single from the album. The addition of Adam Marc to the tour is a crucial one, if not just for the cowbell and piano that is needed in this song. The huge chorus fills the room, showing it’s obvious popularity with it’s random samples and diverse synth backing, all whilst combining a naughty riff from the ever true Delaney, it also allows for Donnelly to show off his often underrated pipes.
‘Nerve’, ‘Thug Workout’ (which should stay in every single DB set ever) and ‘Money Power Fame’ close out the main set before the encore, which compromises of ‘Come Out To LA’ and ‘T-Shirt Song’. ‘Come Out To LA’, once again shows off Donnelly’s vocals, as well as Broco’s multilayered versatility, showing their understanding of modern pop characteristics and blending it with a hench rock riff. ‘T-Shirt Song’ closing the set with once again, a clean melody, but the modern pop layers of synths, trumpets and a big guitar chorus seems fitting as a climactic ending for a set as large as Broco’s. The majority of the floor remove a shirt or piece of clothing and throw it around their head, (zips to the eyes galore) which makes for a glorious spectacle to end the set.
Don Broco are in a very strange position, with the right promotion and right bookings, shows like this can easily catapult them to larger venues and maybe even smaller arenas. They’re catchy, have a strong fan base and a truly unique sound and they put on a hell of a show, but where can they go next? We’d suggest you catch Don Broco in these smaller venues whilst you can, because with consistent strong performances such as these, the sky is the limit for the Bedford four piece.
(PLEASE DO NOT CROP OR EDIT IMAGES)