Strolling through crowds of teenagers in ‘Where’s Bedford?’ and Neck Deep shirts, you would be forgiven for not knowing whether tonight was a Don Broco or Neck Deep headline show. But, from the second the Bedford quartet, who were recently crowned Best British Artist by Rock Sound, take the stage - there’s no question whose show this is tonight.
The understated intro of Technology’s ‘Come out To LA’ rips through the arena, the crowd tentatively waiting to descend into ‘push-up pit’ chaos the second the music drops as God-amongst-men Rob Damiani prowls around stage.
It’s been almost a year to the day since Technology was released, an album which turned out to be a single-spouting machine for the boys, having released ‘Come Out To LA’, ’T-Shirt Song’, ‘Stay Ignorant’, ‘Pretty’, ‘Everybody’, and the album’s title track.
Shooting straight into the aforementioned ‘Pretty’ - arguably their best live song - and ‘Good Listener’, The production elevates the show to a whole new level, as the lighting reflects the album, changing from a deep burning red to Automatic’s iconic purple and blue combo for ‘Superlove’ and ‘Money Power Fame’.
Guitarist Si Delaneys’ trousers, or lack thereof, almost serves as a distraction from the rest of the goings-on, before becoming glaringly obvious that he wouldn’t be able to do his usual gymnastics routine with anything less comfortable. Have you ever seen a man throw his leg almost back over his head, in mid air, whilst also playing guitar? Nor had I until tonight.
The crowd looks suspiciously like a Wii Fit crowd, bouncing enthusiastically in unison before the consistently high energy both on stage and in the crowd is toned down momentarily. Damiani takes centre stage and croons his way through ‘Further’, before turning the night on it’s head with the fiery ‘Stay Ignorant’, its groove-laden bassline turning the crowd into one venue-wide circle pit.
If you had to trawl through a typical Don Broco setlist and choose just one encore song, you would be hard pressed. Every track is a masterpiece in its own right, whether it’s witty lyrics about Google listening to you chat to your Mum about chilli con carne, or riffs that hold their own against some of rock’s all-time greatest. Not only are their songs extraordinary, but this is a band who once played a show despite bassist Tom Doyle being sick from food poisoning five minutes before set time. So, what did he do? He played the show from behind the curtain, laying on the floor with a sick bucket next to him. Yep.
The falsettos of ‘Nerve’ send chills right to the back of the packed out 12,000 capacity venue, before they burst back on stage to raucous newest single ‘Half Man Half God’, beginning the encore with a song so powerful both live and recorded that words pale in comparison.
Cutting through into ‘Thug Workout’, an early song never officially released bar YouTube, the band once again turn the crowd into more of a lap-running exercise before their final anthem ’T-Shirt Song’, a song of which its official video was recorded at their last biggest headline show to date - Alexandra Palace.
A bizarre sight to behold, approximately 3,000 t-shirts suddenly fly into the air, being swung around heads in a show of dedication to the band and their journey, proving that Don Broco’s fanbase is something quite magical.
For a band who were a victim of a rather scathing Kerrang! review in 2012 that read “Who told this guy he could sing? His Mum?”, they couldn’t be on a better trajectory. “Give me fucking greatness, or give me nothing at all” comes to mind.