On the last lap of their UK tour before heading off on the final Vans Warped Tour, Don Broco gave Brighton a muscular, bruising demonstration of their powers. Technology, their third studio album, ramped up the stadium rock sound for the Bedford band and has seemingly turned them into major contenders for the next level. Tonight proved that that next step will surely soon be made. With two superb support bands in Beach Riot and The LaFontaines, fans of all things loud were in delirium from beginning to end.
First up, Brighton’s own Beach Riot – who are exactly that down on the seafront. With a fuzzy, grungy sound, theirs is an exciting set pitched a notch or two above the usual standard. With the crowd onside within a couple of songs, and the pummelling drums making sure that the night gets off to a suitably deafening beginning, it won’t be a surprise to see them appearing on more hype lists very soon. ‘Serial Scruff’ and ‘She’s A Hurricane’ (the latter possessing a bass intro of pure filth) summon up the first circle pit from hell, while on-stage there is a mix of swirling hair and thrashing guitar.
Following them, and instantly raising the fun factor, Motherwell’s The LaFontaines – last seen in Brighton during 2017’s The Great Escape. Their combination of rap and rock finds its ideal home here tonight, turning Concorde 2 into one hot, sweaty mess. Frontman Kerr Okan is a man made for the limelight, ramping up the atmosphere in the room whenever it suffered from the tiniest of drops. “Our job is to get the party started” he growls at one point, and how. ‘King’ has every set of arms up in the air, while ‘Slow Elvis’ and ‘Under The Storm’ sound like anthems already. Eyes will be on them for their headline tour later this year.
The room is bathed in a Terminator-esque red light as Don Broco enter the stage. With a boisterous crowd already beginning to get amped up, it is the perfect meeting of sound and mood as they kick off with the crushing riff of ‘Pretty’. Frontman Rob Damiani is a force of nature, straddling the barrier as he screams the lyrics to ‘Everybody’ while on either side of him, Simon Delaney (guitar) and Tom Doyle (bass) leap and bounce in unison. A Don Broco gig is a series of ‘get psyched’ moments, circle pits revolving and reforming in a continuous, fluid manner. All the while, Damiani is the ringleader and instigator of the devilry unfolding in front of him.
Technology was a huge leap forward in sound and scope for Don Broco, and that becomes even more obvious tonight. While there is clearly a lot of love in the room for the older material from the audience, some of the Automatic-era tracks just don’t carry the weight of the new. ‘Superlove’ and ‘Automatic’ see a noticeable drift to the bars before the crunching ‘Technology’ sends them rushing back for a series of home runs culminating in a version of ‘Thug Workout’ that contains a circle pit that made everything else tonight feel like a dress rehearsal for the real thing. This show was less of a warm-up, and more of a sustained flexing of some heavy muscle – there’s no disputing that few bands contain the power and punch of Don Broco right now.