Don Broco have a vast tour ahead of them and if their opening night at Victoria Warehouse is anything to go by, fans have plenty to look forward to.
At least initially.
As we stood in the darkness of the lush, atmospheric warehouse, the circular visual backdrop seemed to resemble the ripples of a cool blue swimming pool as the echoing synths of stand-out track ‘Come out to LA’ travelled around the room, delighting the crowd. Within seconds, lead vocalist Rob Damiani burst onto the stage with a rivalling presence as the band bounced off each other’s energy, straight into follow-up track ‘Pretty’. After the outstanding success of their 2018 release Technology, I was surprised to hear these songs together so early in the set.
As the show progressed, it was a shame to see that many of the hits fell into a foggy mid-set disarray. Amongst the pop-infused tracks of Automatic, the crowd appeared to be left less than impressed, listening but stood almost still for many of these tracks. At another gig, this might have not been quite so jarring but when a band has the ability to whip up an audience into a frenzy at other moments, it becomes evident that the setlist doesn’t quite align with their creative vision as a whole.
The introduction of the cowboy character at random intervals throughout the show was a bizarre but ultimately hilarious feature of the show. I still have absolutely no idea how this character really ties in with their current album, except to perhaps create an overemphasised nod to their Americana style on their recent singles such as ‘Everybody’. However, this could very well describe the Don Broco experience as a whole; bounding from track to track with ferocious energy and a cheeky desire to harness the power of the silly and satirical.
A welcome addition to the set came in the form of Thug Workout which turns ten this year and still remains a popular fan favourite that guarantees an excitable reaction from the crowd. Despite the state of the floor during the pits, it was quite the spectacle to see so many men doing press-ups in the middle of a pit. It just proved that the long-standing fans of the band are still around and just as invested as the band themselves!
The setting of Victoria Warehouse has immense potential which the band really used to their advantage to create a really fun and atmospheric gig, full of giddy energy that radiated throughout the space. However, their visual choices were a little confusing overall, leading to a strange mix between the suburbs of Bedford and a satirically imagined Americana.
Whilst undeniably fun and wild, it would be impressive to see a cohesive and engaging setlist that maintains the energy that this band has the capacity to produce, using the hit tracks from the hugely popular Technology to really guide their shows.