Music, the universal medium, connects individuals from diverse backgrounds, taking them on a collective journey of emotions and experiences. For me, Don Broco, a four-piece rock sensation hailing from Bedford, England, is one such example that consistently delivers live experiences like no other. Known for its energetic live shows, catchy hooks, and unique blend of hard rock, pop, and electronica, Don Broco has established itself as a force to reckon with in the global music scene.
Their debut album, Priorities (2012), was a stepping stone to becoming a leading voice in the British alternative-rock scene. The subsequent releases, Automatic (2015), Technology (2018), and Amazing Things (2021), further solidified their reputation as innovators in modern rock music.
My experience with this phenomenal band began in 2018 when they were the opening act for Mike Shinoda during his Post Traumatic tour. Since then, I’ve attended their concerts as often as possible. This week, on October 17, 2023, I witnessed their electrifying performance for the third time at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reentering the concert scene after a long hiatus due to the pandemic was nothing short of surreal. As a music journalist, this was my first concert since the lifting of pandemic restrictions approximately two years ago. The sold-out show at the Theatre of Living Arts was an adrenaline rush, and the anticipation for the band to take the stage was palpable. Something felt special in the air that night, and the audience exploded in cheers as the band approached the stage, opening with the crowd favorite, “Gumshield.”
What followed was a mesmerizing, high-energy performance that showcased the band’s charisma and musical prowess. The stage, adorned with a prominent screen backdrop showcasing the band’s logo and impressive lighting, elevated the visual aesthetics of the live performance. Special mention goes to the band’s production crew, who did a commendable job with the lighting design. Amidst the impressive production, the band traversed through a setlist of their classic hits and new releases, including “Uber,” “Automatic,” their latest number, “Birthday Party,” and my personal favorite, “Everybody.”
Sporting a fan-made crop top that said “I <3 Don Broco” in permanent marker and his trademark curly mop and a stache straight out of Hall & Oates, lead vocalist Rob Damiani was in top form as his fellow bandmates blew the roof off the place.
Throughout the night, the band found ways to engage with their beloved fans consistently. One memorable moment saw lead vocalist Rob Damiani inviting a ten-year-old fan onto the stage after witnessing him and his even younger brother holding their own in a “Wall of Death.” Props to the little guy because, as a 37-year-old, I wouldn’t dare go in a Wall of Death. I’d get my ass kicked.
After that beautiful moment, the concert hit an absolute peak with the performance of “Bruce Willis,” leaving the audience on an adrenaline high. Since first witnessing them in 2018, Don Broco consistently ranks as one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Few artists I’ve seen have managed to compare, except for maybe Linkin Park and Coldplay.
Almost two weeks later, I am still buzzing from that night. From a drunk man hilariously twerking on his embarrassed date to the beat of “Everybody”, all the way to the crowd singing to the encore “T-Shirt Song,” the evening was a stark reminder of the magic of live concerts—a feeling I sorely missed during the pandemic. What a night.
However, Tuesday was special for multiple reasons. Four years ago, I took a girl I was seeing to a Don Broco show in Philadelphia, and that weekend changed everything. That concert marked a turning point in my feelings for her, and I asked her to be my girlfriend that same weekend. Four years later, we found ourselves again in the same city, now engaged and attending another Don Broco performance.
Attending this show four years later, with Nicole by my side, felt like the culmination of our journey together, a beautiful blend of struggles and triumphs. As the music permeated the air, it felt like we were not merely spectators at a show but characters in a narrative of resilience and love that had shaped and defined our relationship over the past four years. How fitting that these thoughts unfolded at a Don Broco show when Don Broco was the concert that would supercharge our bond all those years ago.
To say that Don Broco’s music is entertaining would be an understatement. It’s an experience, a tapestry of emotions and memories that resonates with fans on a deeper level. Their innovative approach to music continues to push the boundaries of the rock genre.
If you ever are offered the chance to see them live and witness the Amazing Things they can do on stage, do not let it pass. It’s an experience you will not regret.