Don Broco’s fans are nothing if not dedicated. The atmosphere down by the stage on a chilly February Wednesday was hot as hell. Throngs of staunch teenagers lurched and swayed, screamed sang and the braver among them – participating in the ‘push up squad’, a testosterone-fuelled contest of who can do the most press ups before the breakdown ends and the chorus kicks back in. A valiant effort, as it takes true trepidation to touch the floor of Corporation with your bare hands.
The evening kicked off with Hey Vanity, a band that seemed still in years of amateurish ironic Outkast covers and an air of bewilderment that they can’t quite believe their luck to be touring. Swiftly followed by Mallory Knox, who were smarter, tighter and more accomplished. Mallory Knox were full of energy, slightly reminiscent of early Lostprophets, and presented a really solid and entertaining set.
Don Broco, top of the bill and a live force to be reckoned with, swan in to conclude the evening. Delightfully cocksure, the Bedford boys encouraging the crowd to leap around chanting “YORK-SHIRE!” bashing through their set with movements that managed to simultaneously remind me of some degree of genuine swagger and someone’s uncle at a wedding. Charmingly, Don Broco don’t look like your typical alternative guitar band, but have a cuter, clean cut edge which makes them look more like a university geography society than through-and-through hardcore kids.
“Priorities”, title-track from their debut album and single is roaringly laden with sarcasm, in fact, all their lyrics have a sneering irony, a distinct ethos of bullshitting, refreshingly not taking themselves too seriously.
“Yeah Man” encouraged a thoroughly enjoyable singalong, vocalist Rob Damiani addressing – in a slightly contrived way that did make me cringe a fair bit – “all the sexy ladies” in the crowd. But the flock of fans were well in to it, engaging in a boys versus girls deathmatch (the girls, heavily outnumbered, put up a surprisingly good fight).
Don Broco’s strength as a live act lies in their everpresent undercurrent of distinct, good old-fashioned, pop. You can properly sing along, and because their fans are good-hearted and good-natured, you can even enjoy a nice little dance without feeling too self-conscious. The guitar riffs are catchy as hell, yet extremely technically accomplished, and it’s never too long before the heavily distorted bass kicks in – counteracting any hint of cheesiness, giving it a cool as fuck metal edge. And you’re never left without something to sing, chant or scream along with, because “that’s the way the party rolls”.