Don Broco / State Champs /Counterfeit.
Alexandra Palace – London – 11/11/17
It’s cold, it’s raining and there’s a huge queue, but that’s not stopping the mood being dampened. As fireworks go off across from a sold out Alexandra Palace, all in attendance are preparing to watch Don Broco headline their biggest show to date. After their last headliner in London, a sold out Brixton Academy, Alexandria Palace is the next logical step, and the week prior, Broco can tick off not only Ally Pally, but a sold out Ally Pally off of their bucket list. But, was it a dream come true or an overly real nightmare? (Spoilers, it was beyond a dream)
Opening the show is Counterfeit (8). Playing to a filling audience, the London rockers weren’t going to let the lack of people knock them back, as they played with passion and power as though they were headlining. Lead singer and guitarist, Jamie Campbell Bower, owns the stage completely, shredding, screaming and making himself known in the crowd multiple times during the set, going from playing on the barrier to the centre of a circle pit (it’s not even 8pm by the time a pit opens up). Playing songs off of their newest album, Together We Are Stronger, the punk rock outfit are definitely ones to watch who may easily rise up the bill at Ally Pally.
Second supports are New York’s own, State Champs (8), who are ready to bring the noise and the evening’s token amount of Pop Punk. With an infectious groove and distinct classic PP with modern melody sound, it is no wonder that significant chunks of the crowd are singing along. Opening with fan favourite Slow Burn, they capture the Ally Pally crowd immediately, with a crescendo of crowd participation. The crowd bounces along to songs throughout the twelve-song set, such as Losing Myself, All You Are Is History and Critical, which particularly goes down well for older fans. The band proclaim to the crowd that they officially finished their third studio album that week, to a huge response, they take this into their final song, Secrets, which has the crowd on their feet, screaming along. Consider the crowd significantly warmed up.
For the final time this evening, the lights dim, a distorted backing track begins and the crowd surges forward as Don Broco (10) storm the stage, opening with monster single and upcoming album title, TECHNOLOGY. As guitarist Si Delaney strikes the first note, the looming pyramid light show erupts, as the crowd bounces perfectly on beat. Lead singer (notably sporting a spectacular Antonio Banderas shirt) Rob Damiani bounds around the stage like an excited Labrador, placing the microphone near his mouth to sing, the crowd overwhelms him screaming the lyrics back, setting the tone for the evening.
After a flurry of new songs to open the set, the band jump into their older back catalogue, displaying the diversity that only Don Broco can do. From the anthemic Fire and the funky Automatic (with one of the nicest bass tones in the game thanks to funkmaster Tom Doyle) to the older material in Actors and You Wanna Know, the crowd knew every word, as the band put on a monster display, filled with pyro and light shows that are worthy of London’s New Years Eve celebrations.
Pulling it back, Damiani and Delaney take a seat to play a stripped back version of While Truth and Yeah Man. Whilst some may consider Broco to be overproduced, this displays the forgotten melody Damiani possesses, which is often overlooked. As the band return to stage towards the latter half of Yeah Man, the crowd once again goes from a soft singalong to bat-shit crazy in seconds. Straight into the iconic Thug Workout, Ally Pally loses its roof, as it is blown off with the spectacle of 10,000 people singing in unison, bouncing up and down to the point the floor moves and, I can’t stress this enough, a lighting display second to bloody none!
The show goes on, breakout song Priorities continues the ruckus, followed by rare set entry, Further with State Champs bassist, Ryan Scott Graham lending his vocal abilities to the song as it is dedicated to him. Later in the set, a camera crew comes out on stage as Rob explains the meaning behind their next song, and latest single, T-Shirt Song, as well as mentioning to go extra crazy as this was being filmed for the music video. Yeah. Like the crowd needed any excuse to go even crazier, yet somehow, they manage to. Even only after being released a week prior to the show, the crowd knew every word, as a cascade of t-shirts filled the air, as far as the eye could see.
As the monumental set concluded, an incredibly heartfelt proposal allowed for a quick costume change, as the lights shone red, and a remix version of Here Comes The Bride, the band ran out in white tuxedos and lay waste to what was left of Ally Pally and the crowd, ending the set with Pretty. Crowd surfing, huge breakdowns, funk, pyro, confetti and multiple huge circle pits, just a few things that occurred in the final five minutes at Don Broco’s headline show at Alexandria Palace, leaving the crowd sweaty, speechless and mulling over one of the best performances they’ve seen in a long time.
It is without a doubt that Don Broco is a stadium band. After the performance displayed, it’s even harder to see where they will go next, but what was obvious is that they are ready. With their unique sound, their huge production and new addition Adam Marc providing even further musical opportunities to thicken, their already, huge live sound, Broco demonstrate an incredibly unique ability that they can play a show that’s from 100 people to 10,000 people and engage every single one of those watching them. What the music world needs right now is something new and unique and Don Broco more than adequately fit that description.
(PLEASE DO NOT CROP OR EDIT IMAGES)
Review: Adam Jones
Photos: © Danny Peart Photography 2017