Live: DON BROCO // O2 Academy, Oxford
Living up to the name of their most recent album Amazing Things, Don Broco brought an unforgettable Monday night to Oxford.
Bedford rockers Don Broco have built up quite the reputation for having incendiary live-shows; between swinging t-shirts, push-up mosh pits and even having a badminton game play out at their previous gigs, they certainly know how to work up a frenzy with their crowd and it was no different at their recent Oxford show on Monday night. Having graced the likes of O2 Academy Brixton and Manchester Academy during their most recent tour, one wondered how the comparatively tiny O2 Academy Oxford would stack up for the band, but the amount of energy and liveliness in the crowd on Monday night held its weight against arena-type venues.
Kicking off the set with Manchester’s Super Red No. 1 Fan, the blaring alarms and pounding riffs lit the whole crowd alight with its swaggering energy, and masses of bodies almost seemed to morph into a collective entity as everyone jumped in sync for the chorus. Keeping the energy high with Technology and Pretty, all types of fans would have been pleased by the setlist which interspersed the band’s more recent release with some of their classics for a varied performance that brought out the band’s hype. And it’s not just the drive behind the tracks that makes the band so fun to watch live, but it’s the constant motion on and off-stage that keeps everyone completely immersed. Whether it’s vocalist Rob Damiani’s calls for mosh pits from as soon as the second track of the evening, or guitarist Si Delaney’s gravity-defying leg kicks and spins, there’s always something to captivate your interest and make your jaw gape with amazement.
While the funk of Automatic saw everyone having a groove and boogie along to the fluorescent basslines and syncopated rhythms, Come Out To LA got everyone reaching for the ceiling as the hooking chorus kicked in and compelled a good amount of headbanging. It set the pace nicely for one of the highlights of the evening in ACTION, when the band brought out Kid Brunswick and Noisy to sing the feature parts. Seeing all of the vocalists and performers of the evening onstage together, just jamming and having a good time, was a great demonstration of Don Broco’s unfaultable live presence and charisma.
Slowing the pace down a touch with One True Prince, one of the more emotionally drawn out and ardent pieces in their catalogue, the modulation of the track sounded even better live than on record (as if that was possible) and sent a host of tingles down your spine as Rob’s vocals soared over the speakers. It also drew a nice contrast against the cheekier side of the band, which fully came out during Bruce Willis as they projected Bruce Willis’ face onto their backing screen and bantered with the crowd to see which side of the venue could scream ‘YIPPI KI YAY MOTHERFUCKER’ louder. However, an evening with Don Broco wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory T-Shirt Song, and if a whole venue of swinging shirts can’t convince you that this is a band who knows exactly how to entertain a crowd and put on unforgettable live shows, then we do question who is more capable.
Photos: Athena Kam