This could have gone so terribly, terribly wrong. A band whose connections to the metal world were always tenuous, Don Broco have spent the last four years evolving into the closest thing our generation has to the polished, decadent sounds of Duran Duran.
So a slot on the second-largest stage at the UK’s biggest rock and metal festival, in direct competition with Disturbed? On a day when the weather has rendered the ground less a surface and more a murky, ravenous pit of hell-filth? A recipe for failure, surely.
Apparently, Don Broco didn’t get the memo. And judging by the size of the crowd at the Encore stage, neither did Download. Disturbed may have drawn a near-headliner sized crowd at tea time, but it feels like anyone who isn’t watching them is here at Encore stage getting their Thug on.
Broco are on fine form, daring the appalling weather to fuck this up for them. Ever the natural leader, powerhouse frontman Rob Damiani has the crowd squatting in the mud and leaping into the air on demand. Even the Derbyshire contingent of the Push-up squad are in full effect, much to Damiani’s apparent consternation.
We’ve mentioned several times how good the sound has been this weekend, but it seems even sharper for Don Broco. Guitarist Simon Delaney and bassist Tom Doyle might be the two most underrated musicians in UK rock right now, and their (respectively) immaculate chord work and subtle-yet-powerful slap work cut through the mix like a welly through the Donington mud.
In fact, they’re SO good today that their note-perfect half-cover of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ seems entirely superfluous. Particularly when contrasted with Arguable Actual Metal Track ‘Thug Workout’. A triumphant tour-de-force.