Walking in to the arena to the sight of the band in full cowboy outfits was startling, and it’s going to be a moment I’m never going to forget. Surprisingly they were the only band that made a real effort at this Halloween extravaganza, which is one of the reasons I love Don Broco so unconditionally – they aren’t afraid to make fools of themselves, particularly in the name of playing a good show.
The non-inclusion of ‘Thug Workout’ felt like a mistake. Don Broco’s sound verges on pop – particularly during ‘Automatic’, the penultimate track in their short six song set – and while Bring Me The Horizon aren’t as heavy as they once were, a large portion of their fans still value their old style. ‘Thug Workout’ verges on screamo at points, with thumping drums and a squealing guitar line emphasising the heavier sound that Don Broco have veered away from, but this throwback would have worked brilliantly with this crowd. This was also Don Broco’s biggest show to date, rivaled only by their arena tours supporting You Me At Six and 5 Seconds of Summer, and it would have been poignant to hear one of their earliest tracks performed in front of such a large audience.
Don Broco are the band with the biggest crossover potential around at the moment. Beginning to take mainstream audiences by storm, and already cemented in the hearts of the rock community who’ve been watching their rise, it’s impossible not to feel affection towards these four and their constant enthusiasm. Encouraging the audience to crouch down and jump up during the build in ‘Automatic’ proved that with another couple of albums under their belts Don Broco could easily headline this venue. I’m sure writing album number three going to be top of their priorities in the coming months, particularly following their recent signing to SharpTone Records in the US.
You Wanna Know
What You Do To Me
Money Power Fame
I’m only going to say this once: Enter Shikari should have headlined.
It was obvious within the first couple of moments that I was experiencing something remarkably special. Before the band had even set foot on the stage the crowd were chanting along to every word of their self-titled opening track, screaming “and still we will be here, standing like statues”. Out they came, drummer Rob Rolfe spookiest of them all in a skeleton onesie, vocalist Rou Reynolds exhibiting his boundless energy within moments by crazily dancing across the stage in his glittery purple suit and bright white shoes. As the song built to a climax, the chant repeating more and more furiously, the band froze in the middle of playing their instruments, strobe lights the only thing moving on the entire stage for a tense few moments that proved just how brilliant all four members are as performers.
I was instantly hooked.
This wasn’t my first time seeing Enter Shikari, but it’s been so long since their 2013 Warped UK headline set that I’d forgotten how wonderful they are (particularly because their set at Reading festival in 2014 was plagued with technical difficulties).
With their video screen alternating between looping gifs of dancing folks and dinosaurs running, it was hard to decide whether to keep an eye on the background or the tornado of a man rushing around on the stage. Rou is a showman and he fully embraced that role, skipping back and forth across the stage without a care in the world and shocking me with his ability to stay upright while moving at such a velocity.
I hadn’t previously heard some of the songs that they played, having stopped avidly following the band after the release of second album ‘Common Dreads’, which makes my intense focus on their set all the more unexpected. I struggle to concentrate if I’m not intimiately familiar with the song being played – my attention drifts and I start mentally preparing my review – and that’s one of the reasons this has taken me so long to write: I was so caught up in the moment that I nearly forgot to write down the setlist, let alone observations and comments regarding the set!
There’s just something about these guys that is completely absorbing. From the surprise inclusion of ‘Juggernauts’ – a song that I first heard live back in 2009 which has stayed shockingly relevant – to the electric response to ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ – every person in the crowd joining in during that clapping section – and the extended outro remix of ‘The Anaesthetist’, there was something in this set for fans of every era. These four have been writing arena songs since the band began, and they’d never even realised.
The new material is also brilliant.
Both ‘Redshift’ and ‘Hoodwinker’ were released this year, so I wasn’t surprised that they were included in the set, but I was blown away by how brilliant they both sound live. I fell in love with ‘Redshift’ when I first played it – something about the song strikes a chord deep within me – and the second the notes began ringing out I was covered in goosebumps that stayed for the full length of the song.
Then there was ‘Hoodwinker’, which I hadn’t heard before the show: I waited to be able to hear it for the first time in such a memorable location, and the venomous nature is a refreshing return to form for a band that I’d almost written off. Closing with the lyric “Who do you take me for, a fool? Cheeky fucker!”, it allows the band to both make a statement and show off their unflappable personalities – almost as brilliant as that “What? What? What?” section during the breakdown in ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’. Unafraid of playing with conventions, I’ll be damned if you can find me a band that are anything like Enter Shikari.
I’m pretty certain they’re going to be the support for Bring Me The Horizon’s American Nightmare tour in April (based off of Rou sharing that the band were going to be off the scene for “six months or something […] We’re gonna tuck ourselves away, we’re gonna hibernate, and we’re gonna go write the best album we’ve ever written” and the tour announcement stating “Lock your doors”, a lyric from the beginning of ‘Hoodwinker’).
I’m just hoping they won’t leave it too long before announcing another tour in the UK, because I’ve never regretted missing a show more than their Alexandra Palace headline (a live recording of which is being released later this month).
The Last Garrison
Sorry, You’re Not A Winner
The Anaesthetist (Reso Remix outro)
The Appeal & The Mindsweep Pt. II
Because I’m going to see Bring Me The Horizon again on Saturday, I’m planning on doing a full review of that show, but I have to admit that I was disappointed with this show.
Last year, Bring Me The Horizon did this for Halloween:
Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake
The House of Wolves
Can You Feel My Heart