Palm trees, a string quartet and some very white trousers. It can only be Don Broco at Brixton Academy. Rounding off their first proper headline tour for second album ‘Automatic’, the four-piece manage to shake off their past while remaining true to everything they’ve ever been.
Arcane Roots stick out tonight. Their rugged, off-kilter rock might be at odds with the polish of what’s to come but the room embraces every turn. Latest EP ‘Heaven & Earth’ was written with challenges like tonight in mind and it certainly delivers. Bounding about the stage, Andrew Groves and Adam Burton throw themselves into ‘Slow Dance’ and ‘Leaving’ with total self-belief on away ground. The Kris Kross close of ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ is heartfelt, dynamic but oh so simple: Arcane Roots will make you jump, jump.
The reaction to Coasts is far more vocal than physical. Their dreamy indie, twinkling and pulsating, sways with grandeur but the delicate nuances that give it its personality are lost somewhere between the stage and the crowd.
There are synchronised claps, there are fireworks and before the end of the third song (‘Automatic’, FYI) frontman Rob Damiani has the whole of Brixton Academy crouched down low. From the off, Don Broco have a sense of familiarity with the crowd and from here on out, the whole thing feels wonderfully effortless.
There’s still a contrast to the band though. From the jingle of ‘Yeah Man’ (complete with Tom Doyle stacking it) and the video game chime of ‘Superlove’ (still not a cover of Charli XCX) to the flame emoji worthy ‘Fire’ and carnage of ‘Thug Workout’, Don Broco are still straddling expectations.
There’s a festive, instrumental chunk of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’, and an academy wide Mexican wave while the final four songs sees the band joined by a string quartet, pulling out the more epic moments of ‘Further’ and ‘Priorities’. Tonight is the biggest and “most anticipated” show the band have ever played and they don’t hold back. Don Broco live shows used to be defined by a few key moments, The Walk or the push-up pits of Thug Workout but this evening, despite all the risks, it’s their brazen showmanship that shines through. In fact, the only mistake the band do make is forgetting to ask for a photo, only remembering once everyone’s turned to leave. Even at their very best, Don Broco are only human.