Slap bang in the middle of their first ever headlining arena tour, saw Don Broco take the stage by some style at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. Following on from the release of their third full length album Technology in 2018 and European tour in January, Don Broco returned home to bless the UK with their charm and quirky western themed show. From the offset I could tell I was going to be in for a treat, with the stage scattered with an immense lighting rig and mirrorball-esque screen to project the on goings of the show and other visual delights. The visual set up was one equal enough to match the prowess and charisma of their groovy alternative rock music.
The night began with American metalcore outfit Issues. Vocalist Tyler Carter captured the hearts of the crowd with his blissfully sweet vocals and impressive vocal range. Touring as a four piece, after the departure of their harsh vocalist Michael Bohn, meant guitarist AJ Rebello and bassist Skyler Acord had harsh vocal duties and impressively pulled them off whilst playing intricate riffs.
Issues opened with fan favourite “Hooligans” and several of their latest album Headspace. The energy from the crowd showed through mosh pits and jumping about – a feature that would only grow as the night progressed. Issues ended their set with a personal favourite of mine, “Mad At Myself”, with the crowd echoing back the lyrics through the arena.
Next up were from much closer to home, and that was evident through a large number of the crowd wearing their merch. Neck Deep playing in their vocalist Ben Barlow’s home country meant it was no surprise to hear the crowd chant back the lyrics to every song!
Kicking off their set with “Motion Sickness” off their latest record The Peace and the Panic opened up a mosh pit about half the stage wide… Some of the pits I witnessed during this energetic pop-punk set could definitely rival those of much heavier genres! Neck Deep also had a few tricks up their sleeves, bringing along saxophonist Saxl Rose to add layers and melodies to tracks like “In Bloom” and their cover of “Torn” made famous by Natalie Imbruglia.
Tracks from Life’s Not Out to Get You such as “Gold Steps”, “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” and “Kali Ma” were fan favourites with the energy resonating throughout the band right to the back of the venue. Neck Deep certainly had the crowd riled up and energised for the final act of the night…
As I’d touched on earlier the crowd were in for a visual treat. Don Broco opened with “Come Out to LA” off their latest record in some style. Making use of their intense lighting rig and enormous centrepiece screen, they teased the crowd with their intro audio track building up the tension with the lights until finally giving into the first line of the track. “Superlove” had the venue filled in a pink atmosphere, reminiscent of the music video the band had released for it. The crowd bounced up and down to the anthemic tunes from Don Broco echoing back tracks like “Automatic” in an emphatic manner!
Vocalist Rob Damiani just had this swagger about him throughout the night, effortlessly controlling the crowd with his every word or move out on the stage. Some praise has to be mentioned for drummer Matt Donnelly whose supporting vocals on tracks like “Money Power Fame” and others were solid throughout the night, whilst keeping up an intense and powerful set behind the kit.
Don Broco ended the night with a three-track encore featuring “Thug Workout” – a throwback to their earlier post-hardcore roots. They finished the night with crowd favourite “T-Shirt Song”, leaving big smiles on all those in attendance.
Pics by Sean Larkin Photography