Don Broco at Keele Students’ Union: Review

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Half an hour before doors opened and as rain threatened to fall from the Staffordshire sky, a stream of expectant Don Broco fans lined the Keele University campus.

Don Broco are a band that have cultivated a formidable live reputation.

And lead singer Rob Damiani, spoke about how their latest album ‘Technology’ sought to capture the energy felt at gigs. 

“We wanted to write something that was going to be fun to play live, that was going to sound good to play in rooms, and hype up us and the crowd.”

And the band were true to their word, they entered the stage to a wave of noise.

Opening song, ‘Pretty’ not only set the tone for the night – but typified where the band currently are in their development.

‘Technology’ as an album, has seen the band draw on the rawness and energy of debut release ‘Priorities’, while blending in the smoother stylings of more studio-led ‘Automatic’.

This was encapsulated by ‘Pretty’. A heavy intro, coupled with Damiani’s high-tempo delivery, flowing into a song specially crafted to coerce the crowd into the mosh pit. 

Lead singer Rob Damiani had the full support of the crowd throughout the night. Photo by Keele SU Entertainments.

And the tightly-packed crowd responded in an instant, with energy erupting from every corner of the venue.

As sweat began to form on brows, a fluorescent red backdrop gave a flare-lit air to proceedings, lending an end-of-show, celebratory feel to the show, inside the opening ten minutes; the theme continuing into the band’s second track ‘Everybody’.

Damiani had said prior to the gig, that the band had made the album to reflect what they “would want as punters” and as the initial adrenaline subsided, the remainder of the set played like a band who were attune with their audience.

Sticking with the ‘Technology’ theme, the audience were given a brief respite, through ‘Good Listener’ and ‘The Blues’.

Not having the instant impact of the first two tracks, the crowd were enticed forward, before launching into latest fan-favourite ‘Stay Ignorant’.

And the rest of the show seemed to play to this rhythm: an explosion of energy, briefly and barely contained, before the band stoked the fire once more.

Leading with five tracks off the new record demonstrated how ‘Technology’ has captured that ‘live-feel’; the newer sounds welcomed just as warmly as the more well-worn tracks.

However, after “five or six years” of playing some of their deeper cuts, the band have actively resisted playing songs off the ‘Priorities’ album on this latest tour.

Though fans rejoiced as they were greeted by old friends, ‘Automatic’ trio, ‘Do You Wanna Know’, ‘Superlove’, and the album’s titular track.

Broco toured ‘Automatic’ extensively, combining their own headline run with support slots for Bring Me The Horizon and 5 Seconds of Summer in 2016.

Playing these arena-size support slots appears to have greatly influenced the band, whose prowess on the night could have easily graced a grander stage.

Fans were bursting with energy for the whole of Don Broco’s set. Photo by Keele SU Entertainments.

In the latter stages, as Damiani’s voice began to give way during ‘Porkies’, the crowd found theirs; chants of “You’re gonna lie to me anyway” showcasing fans at their chest-pounding best.

And rewarded for staying with the band throughout their newly-formed set, merely the first beat of ‘Priorities’ saw mania take hold.

Though Broco insist on leaving their older tracks behind, both ‘Priorities’ and the evergreen ‘Thug Workout’ were played as enthusiastically as ever – with fans proving they won’t tire of hearing them, either.

The press-up-pit that ensues with every play of ‘Workout’ signalled that the band aren’t looking to forget their roots – but build upon them.

After a brief encore-induced pause, ‘Come Out to LA’ exemplified how the band have grown musically.

And, closing on ‘T-shirt song’, the fans showed they were in full support of the band’s latest direction.

Commanding fans for a final time, the lyrics “I take my T-Shirt off, swing it around my head” compelled the audience to oblige.

A band still on the rise, shirts swirled skywayrds as Don Broco left the stage.

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