By Bronagh McManus
As hundreds crowded into Manchester’s infamous HMV Ritz on Friday 6th December the air grew crowded with anticipation and excitement as the (nearly) over –capitated venue waited for Bedfordshire boys Don Broco to grace the stage. Shortly after 8.30pm the lights dipped, the usual screams erupted and drummer Matt Donnelly walked on stage followed by guitarist Simon Delaney and bassist Tom Doyle. The crowd surged forward in an eager attempt to come ever closer to the band which was soon completed as lead singer and general front man Rob Damiani swaggered onstage. The backdrop to the set was clothed in a long banner saying ‘Don Broco’ and the blue and purple lighting matched the colour scheme of their recently released EP ‘You Wanna Know’, of which the title track (also called ‘You Wanna Know’) boomed out as the group’s opening song. The song which is often played on reality TV show ‘Made in Chelsea’ was the ultimate track to start the show with. The song builds for several seconds before a loud drum beat ‘drops’ releasing a wave of energy with it. Having opened the evening with such a widely loved song was a good and obvious choice for the band.
The young rock musicians bounded around the stage, absorbed in the adrenaline of live performance. The audience was mainly composed of an age group of around 14 plus with a lot of adolescent males sporting the band’s new merch top ‘Don Broco – Push Up Squad’. The Push Up Squad is exactly what it sounds like (bear with me!) whereby during the performance Daminai would instruct the audience to split creating a wide gap in the centre of the hall. Young men would run into the gap and start to perform push ups – much to the delight of the lead singer. Don Broco live and breathe ‘lad culture’ or at least they create the image that they do. With lyrics about getting drunk, dating girls and living life to the absolute maximum it is really no surprise why the group are a popular choice for teenage listeners.
As ‘You Wanna Know’ concluded the band were greeted with a wave of screams and roars from an appreciative audience. Up next was ‘The Whole Truth’, a song taken off their outstanding debut album ‘Priorities’ which was released last year, via Sony Music. One of the many mosh pits of the night opened up, followed by, again, another surge forward by the crowd. The gig continued with the golden oldie ‘Dream Boy’, a song about an amorous affair between the singer and an unnamed girl. Don Broco played with extreme precision and energy, making them by far one of the best live bands of the 21st century. Every time I see the band play their performance excels itself as the group channel every effort into indulging the audience with their music. There are two things strikingly obvious about Don Broco’s performance. The first is they are having the time of their life; every show is played out like it could well be their very last. Each show is played to impress a newcomer and to reward a loyal fan. The second is their absolute appreciation of their growing fan base, of whom they remain humble towards. Though Damiani presents a stage persona of a rather arrogant young man, it is not hard to see past the image to the genuinely thankful individual.
Upon leaving the stage for the predictable ‘encore’ the four piece returned to perform an ‘acoustic’ performance of their single ‘Hold On’ before slowly trailing off the first verse only to restart the song in its true rock essence. Old school song ‘Beautiful Morning’ followed, which narrated the story of leaving a club as the sun rises. As the evening concluded and the final mosh pit circulated, everyone’s favourite ‘Priorities’ boomed out, leaving the audience exhilarated and energized by the incredible show.