Written & Photographed by James Conway
Don Broco, the 4 piece Bedford based pop punk (and occasional David Beckham cloners) have always had a special place in our hearts – from their groovy and hard hitting album ‘Priorities ’ all the way to their most recent releases ‘Amazing Things’ and last years ‘Fingernails’ single. One thing that has stayed consistent is their unique gritty and punching sound. From Drummer & Vocalist Matt Donnelly’s unique mix of talent, to Si Delaney’s chaotic guitar riffs and stage presence (and magnificent beard) to Tom Doyle’s impressive finger work on the bass to our favorite lead vocalist Rob Damiani.
The 4 piece announced last April (2022) that they were playing an impressive string of 4 arena dates (with support from Dance Gavin Dance & legendary Papa Roach) in the following year (2023) starting at the Cardiff International Arena and ending the run with a right knees up at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace.
We snapped at the chance to see them at Ally Pally and our Writer and Photographer James Conway was there for the wild night.
As the hordes started queuing to get into the mesmerizing palace, the one thing that struck me was the amount of people either dressed in cowboy gear (Everybody Music Video), Baby Dino (MSRNOF Music Video) shirts or even wearing full on power rangers outfits (Endorphins Music Video). A real testimony to Broco’s fan base and how up they are for their very unique stylization.
As you step foot in the Great Hall you can see the sheer eye-watering production that had been built for this tour. An incredible circular light rig raised above the stage, expanding out above the crowd. The rig was very reminiscent of their 2019 arena rig – which was a huge triangle instead of the circle design. Behind this was an impressive collection of LCD screens – The full force of this was shown later on when Broco took the stage.
To set off our night we saw the mighty ‘Dance Gavin Dance’ getting the floor rumbling. They entered the stage with ‘Chucky vs. The Great Tortoise’ and It was evident fans weren’t here to mess about – not even 1 song in and a mosh pit had spawned. Certainly a teaser for what would come….
After a short interval, our second band the iconic 5 piece ‘Papa Roach’ took to the stage. The boys came here for strictly business and it is very safe to say they made this support slot a gig of their own. We began our journey with the gang with heavy mood setter ‘Kill The Noise’ – as soon as the guitar riff and claps started the crowed knew the assignment and started battling it out in the pit. After this they decided the best course of action was to continue the utter madness in the palace with 2004 bopper ‘Getting Away With Murder’. Is it any surprise another mosh was started to this ?
From these incredible set-starters to something very unexpected….. a Papa Roach rendition of the incredibly iconic ‘Firestarter’ by UK greats ‘The Prodigy’ – it’s hard to take in how well the boys managed to pull it off but good god they did with flying colors and the crowds seem to agree. However, this wouldn’t be the only cover we heard from their mega setlist. ‘Still D.R.E’ by Dr. Dre snuck its way into the setlist, however it was about as Papa Roach as you could have wanted it. Very . Heavy.
We then said farewell to Papa Roach and after a short 30 minute interval the lights snapped to black and the main event was about to start. From a distance you could see the Broco boys jumping on stage and lining up behind the drum kit for a very cool intro. With small flashes of light behind each member, a small snippet of instrumental played – with each flash the masses got even more excited . After the last flash Matt laid down the first verse of everybody’s favorite new track ‘Bruce Willis’.
As soon as he could the chaotic Si Delaney was already pouncing around the stage – whilst to everyone’s surprise headman Rob has ignited a smoking glittering flare. The sheer amount of energy that is seen on that stage was inspiring, not one band member was still. Following this incredible show starter, we had the show stopper (literally) ‘Gumshield’. The crowds were so warmed up from the supports, that the barrier started to come out of place and the show got put on hold for 5 minutes. In classic Don Broco style, the band invited the crowd to start ‘the biggest circle pit’ and they really did deliver. The band graced us with the 2018 fan favorite ‘Technology’, which has got to be one of my personal favorites from their ever growing catalogue.
After a couple of Broco boppers ‘Uber’ and ‘Come Out To LA’ we were transported to the intergalactic performance of ‘One True Prince’ which was nothing short of amazing. The visuals on the back LCD boards were mesmerizing with comets and supernovas shooting over the projected video of the boys on stage. The circular light rig above them, had an impressive light display shooting out whilst this emotional hard hitter was playing.
We then continued our adventure with the 2021 ‘Amazing Things’ comeback single ‘Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan’. Rob invited Papa Roaches ‘Jacoby Shaddix’ to join him for it, it was incredible to see these two rock legends collaborating in arguably one of 2021’s best rock song. It was at this moment in the set were Rob once again declared he wanted another mosh pit, however he wanted it to be the biggest pit of the bands history. Did they deliver ? Of course they did – this is Don Broco fans we are talking about.
As the band played a handful more tracks from their discography, the band started to make their farewell with the track that has stapled itself as the Don Broco closing statement, ‘T-Shirt Song’. Whether you’ve been to a Broco show before or not you will understand what is required when this song enters its chorus. “I take my T-Shirt off and swing it around my head”. And just like that a sea of T Shirts being flung around peoples heads as far as the eye can see.
An impressive and awe inspiring performance from the Bedford based band and a real testimony to what they have achieved – and what they are continuing to do with each release and show.