Standing in a sea of people where almost every other person has a pint in their hand and is wearing dark clothing and moving to the heavy sound of alternative rock, forgive me for feeling a little out of place. As far as atmospheres go, I had never been to a gig quite like this one before.
After a string of festival slots over the summer, Don Broco – consisting of Rob Damiani (lead vocals), Matt Donnelly (drums and vocals), Simon Delaney (guitar) and Tom Doyle (bass) – took to the O2 Academy in Leeds as part of a line-up of intimate gigs in December.
The Bedford-based band was joined on tour by three support acts that each played about a 30 minute set. Symmetry took to the stage first, followed by Arcane Roots and finally Coasts. As each band came on, the crowd grew in size, making it clear who they had turned up to see. Saying that, each support act did their job well by warming up the crowd with their mix of pop-rock songs. I knew at that point that if they were anything to go by, we were in for something special with the headliners.
Don Broco most certainly didn’t disappoint. To kick off the set, they played ‘I Got Sick’ from their second studio album which was released in August 2015. Immediately bringing high volumes of energy, they most definitely rocked out on stage. It was difficult not to stand still as I found myself bobbing my head in time to the drum beat, guitar riffs and bass line.
Lead singer, Damiani, had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the show. Demonstrating his natural ability to control a room full of people as a good front-man should, he got the mass audience to crouch to their knees and jump up when the beat dropped during ‘Automatic’. Simultaneously, strobe lights bounced uncontrollably, reflecting the energy of the die-hard fans. I found myself singing along to the catchy lyrics of one of their biggest hits. Damiani later created a Mexican wave across the room, as well as encouraging a mob rave and a mosh pit.
As expected,, the band exited the stage after their main set, leaving everybody wanting more. Shortly returning for an encore, they ended the show with a slightly tamer track (in comparison to favourites like ‘Money Power and Fame’ and ‘You Wanna Know’). Purposely playing their newest single last, with the synth vibe on ‘Nerve’ blending well with their high vocal range, Don Broco demonstrated just how talented they are.
So although I arrived at the gig with barely any knowledge on this popular 4-piece (having only listened to a couple of preview tracks) I left with a new found love for a band that will certainly be making an appearance on my iTunes.