The froth levels were ridiculously high when the recent news dropped that Mudvayne and Coal …
There’s a twinkle attached to every move that British rockers Don Broco make – and this May, that very twinkle will be fixated on three Aussie cities when the band descend down under once again.
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Whether they’re charming stadium-sized crowds or crafting audacious, vulnerable, and expansive sonic delights, the world has increasingly become Don Broco’s boundless oyster despite the extensive curveballs thrown into the mix from a global pandemic.
With the past 12 months alone finding the group in command of a UK #1 album, headlining Slam Dunk festival and appearing on-stage at the hallowed Royal Albert Hall, Don Broco are charging full throttle into 2023, poised for an upcoming sold-out UK run, supported by Papa Roach and Dance Gavin Dance, and an epic European tour with Sleeping With Sirens – and they’ll be bringing their musical midas touch at long last back to Australia this May, following their first ever visit back in 2017.
“It’s crazy because that feels like ages ago,” Don Broco vocalist Rob Damiani says to HysteriaMag.com ahead of the band’s return in May. “Our last visit to Australia was six years ago which feels so long ago – but also not that long ago, you know what I mean? I think lockdown definitely screwed up the concept of time.”
“It’s going to feel really good to come back finally. I think when we did those shows in Australia last time, that was just before our previous album Technology came out, so we were mostly playing songs from the new album. But now, we get to come back and do ones from another new record, which will be super fun!”
“We’ve mixed it up the last few tours,’ Damiani says, touching on potential setlist secrets for their Aussie shows. “And coming up for us right now are some European shows and a UK tour, they’ll be our first big headline ones that we’ve done this year in a little while. I could see that being a test run for Australia.”
“We’ll pick the best of the best from those tours, and give you the refined, most perfect version of Don Broco,” Damiani laughs. “It’s a good warm-up for Australia!”
A band who can conjure crowds to eat out of their hands in a 10,000 capacity venue in London, bringing the noise and glorious sweat to smaller club shows, and everything in between, Don Broco’s Australian shows in 2023 mark notably larger rooms than the last time they graced our shores a few years back. It’s ultimately a footwear-related Aussie moment that still sticks with Damiani after all these years.
“It was probably the first shoey I did,” Damiani grins, reminiscing about his last trip to Australia. “I didn’t know what a shoey was at the time, and I can’t remember who brought it out. But with the peer pressure of the Australian crowd – I obviously had to do it. It was a very refreshing beverage!”
“Maybe it’s died off at gigs, maybe in the post-COVID landscape? But can you even get COVID from a shoey?!” Damiani says, laughing and shrugging. “Maybe? Maybe not.”
With recent international artists partaking of one of Australia’s more polarising modern live music traditions, with Harry Styles and Post Malone two of many to add a shoey to their Aussie experience, Damiani’s own shoe-based encounter in 2017 is certainly not off-brand whether you’re a fan of shoeys or not. On the topic of fans, the chance for Don Broco to play some of their newer material of late since their newest album release has not only spiced up their setlists, it’s also illuminated the live-ready craftsmanship behind Amazing Things, with a new fan-favourite that’s emerged.
“When we wrote for Amazing Things, we kind of refined what we did with Technology and pushed it even further,” says Damiani. “We wrote very much a ‘live’ album that would sound good at a show. And so far, all of the songs have been going down well, but I think the hype for Bruce Willis is really, really insane.”
“That was one I was super excited to bring to the live show, and it really hasn’t disappointed. People are just gassed for the riffs in that one, it’s been a really fun one to do.
“We’re super grateful for the album,” Damiani says, smiling. “From our perspective, getting through lockdown and the last years have been tough on everyone in different ways. From a band’s perspective, it was a really crazy time not knowing when you were going to be touring again, and feeling like your purpose has been removed for a lot of people. I know for a lot of bands playing live is the most important thing, and for me it’s definitely the most fun bit of being in a band.
“We were sort of lucky in the way things landed in the process. We’d just started writing the album and we were under this probably very delusional time pressure of getting it recorded and out within a few months. When COVID actually landed, it kind of opened up the scope to write more songs and enjoy the process a little bit more. I know a few other bands who had just finished an album and were just about to launch it or tour it, that really just scuppered all their plans. They might have put it out, but then they couldn’t do anything about it. And that was horrible to watch from the outside and to empathise with everything they went through.
From our perspective, getting through lockdown and the last years have been tough on everyone in different ways. From a band’s perspective, it was a really crazy time not knowing when you were going to be touring again, and feeling like your purpose has been removed for a lot of people. I know for a lot of bands playing live is the most important thing, and for me it’s definitely the most fun bit of being in a band.
[ Rob Damiani ]
“For us, we were kind of lucky from that perspective, we had a bit more time to write and it probably was the most fun we’ve ever had actually creating an album because we weren’t stressing about the deadlines.”
Capitalising on unexpected and rare downtime alongside diminished time constraints, Amazing Things meant Don Broco could pause and circle back to songs that weren’t initially coming together. It also allowed the quartet to explore their creative sides even further via their vital and elevated social media presence when they couldn’t connect with fans live. A giant glimmering light lay ultimately came knocking after the release of Amazing Things in 2022, with Don Broco tapped as one of four artists, along with The Who, Ed Sheeran and Liam Gallagher, to perform at London’s most iconic venue, Royal Albert Hall for the 2022 Teenager Cancer Trust.
“That’ll forever be one of the pinnacles of our career,” says Damiani of the milestone performance last March. “It happened quite last minute, really. I mean it wasn’t last minute we got invited to do it, they were putting together this week of shows and I think they were unsure as well. They’d tried to do them in the previous years, and they weren’t sure if they were actually going to happen. We had maybe a month or two, and we’d just got off the back of re-releasing the album because we’d had this delayed vinyl situation where the album didn’t come out until the February. And then we basically had a month to write a load of orchestral arrangements. I say “we” had to,” Damiani laughs. “Tom [Doyle, bassist] pretty much did it all.
“We had some amazing guys who worked with Tom, and they kind of went back and forth and developed these parts – but we only got to play with the orchestra the day before the show and they were sight reading it for the first time. They’re a charity orchestra, a lot of them were Tom’s friends from uni and we only had the finished music literally the day before.
“It was one of those “are we going to pull this off?” moments. And it could have crashed and burned in the most disastrous but magnificent way at the Royal Albert Hall. The nerves were running high from that, and the venue just has that grandeur and that history behind it that you can’t help but just be massively humbled when you’re in it and walking on stage as well.”
“I don’t think I have been that nervous in a long time,” Damiani says. “Maybe it’s the most nervous I’ve ever been before a show, I don’t really get that nervous normally. But I was bricking it because the crowd is so close as well, it’s all in the round, and when you walk on stage – people feel like they’re two metres away from you. We’re used to that when we’re playing hometown shows and smaller venues for warm-up shows. But having such a big show and people so up close and in person was a really cool experience.”
“And the orchestra just killed it. So many of the songs were ones that we had been playing for a little while then. And then hearing them re-imagined and the feels you get from some of the string arrangements or a big nice brass section coming through – you kind of hear the songs in a new way, which is really cool.”
With a energetic online and on-stage presence, Don Broco are certainly never ones to phone anything in. What secret gig fit tips do this Bedford bunch have up their sleeves to maintain such a high-octane presence amid increasingly hectic schedules?
“We’re relatively active guys off the stage,” Damiani says, “we go to the gym and play sports and stuff, but there’s nothing like being on stage. I get so tired the first few shows of a tour, I am exhausted. And then you build up the stamina and you bring it back. But we’ve been talking about it, we need to start taking better care of ourselves. I’m head banging, and there’ll be a week where I can’t move my neck after that.”
“I need to start warming up more, I destroyed my back a few years ago in a mosh pit. Basically I fell off the stage on our last American tour right after we played, I kind of waved to the crowd and then I went off the wrong way. There was just this kind of dark mass and I ended up jumping off the stage and landing on something. I dunno what it was protruding,” Damiani pauses and laughs, “but I ended up doing my neck in. It still hurts now!”
“This tour coming up will basically be the first time where I’m going to warm up before each show, rather than just jumping on stage and winging it. Because you don’t want to be getting those injuries!”
DON BROCO TOUR DATES
Thursday 4 May // 170 Russell / Melbourne
Saturday 6 May // Metro Theatre / Sydney
Sunday 7 May // The Triffid / Brisbane