For those who have followed them for all of the past 13 years as a band, seeing Don Broco finally headline Slam Dunk’s main stage to a thousands-strong mob of ecstatic fans feels both head-spinningly surreal and joyfully inevitable. COVID might have done its best to speedbump their arrival, but trust the Bedford boys to take a year off in stride, swaggering on like it was all part of the plan.
They’ve splashed the cash on a production fit for this overdue coronation, too – all field-filling laser displays and sparkling pyro – but their triumph is owed to a set of songs that could never really have come from anyone else: Pretty, Manchester Super Reds No. 1 Fan, Stay Ignorant, Technology.
Having perfected their singular blend of bombast, bounce and off-kilter sexiness over the last half-decade, they slather it liberally all over a performance that seems far more interested in shaking asses and raising smiles than any triumphalist posturing. Gumshield punches up, a borderline-absurdist thumper, Greatness goes off like a bomb in a cowbell factory, and even the near-decade-old Priorities feels somehow renewed. Waterparks’ Awsten Knight and While She Sleeps’ Loz Taylor come out for the UK live debut of Action. One True Prince gets played for the first time anywhere. And the hits just keep coming, from You Wanna Know to Come Out To LA to Nerve.
“We’ve been coming to this festival for years,” gasps frontman Rob Damiani, almost overwhelmed for just a second. “For this to happen right now is fuckin’ crazy!” Then it’s back to good-time business, with Everybody fuelling the craziest shapes busted of the entire weekend, and T-Shirt Song (dedicated, as if it were a club show, to one fan’s girlfriend) seeing a sea of short-sleeves swung over heads before their owners spin off into the night.
A hell of a show. Bow down to Broco. (SL)