Whoever says the UK Rock scene isn't thriving is wrong. Grammy nominated Bring Me The Horizon's new album 'Amo' went straight to number one, Enter Shikari sold out dates all over the country with their recent 'Stop The Clocks Tour' and Architects just headlined Wembley. Add to that that tonight's DON BROCO are on a massive arena tour of the country, having already sold out Manchester's Victoria Warehouse TWICE and with a date at Wembley of their own, things are looking good for UK Rock to say the least.
Tonight we see the tour stop off at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena, it's a belter of a line-up as Atlanta outfit ISSUES and Pop Punk giants Neck Deep are here for the party too.
First up and getting the night underway is ISSUES. I have been desperate to see these guys for quite some time, and they certainly don't disappoint. A lot of the buzz around ISSUES over the last year has been Michael Bohn's departure, and how will the unclean vocals remain in the live performances, this is answered almost instantly, as guitarist AJ roars along impressively during the opener 'Hooligans'.
The 8 song set is packed with all their favourites, and frontman Tyler Carter is on fine form throughout, particularly highlighted in songs such as 'COMA', his unique R&B style vocals blend in so well with their Metalcore sound, something that isn't easy to make work but this is what sets ISSUES apart from bands who go down a similar route. Bass player Skyler Acord just doesn't keep still, zipping from side to side of the stage and headbanging all the way, he gets his time to shine as Tyler calls for a bass solo during 'The Realest' and kills it as you'd expect. By the time the closer 'Mad At Myself' comes around ISSUES have more than done the job of warming up the crowd for the night ahead. These guys are crying out for a headline tour of their own over here, make it happen boys!
Next up is the mighty Neck Deep. You would be forgiven if you think a Pop Punk band is a bit out of place on this line-up, but the reality is that Neck Deep are right at home here, like DON BROCO they are up there with one of the biggest bands to come from the UK and that is very much reflected tonight as there are plenty who have came out to see them.
They come flying out the traps to 'Motion Sickness' and has the crowd bopping instantly. It's seriously impressive at just a few releases into their career how good Neck Deep's back catalogue is, song's like 'Happy Judgement Day' and 'Can't Kick Up The Roots' already sound like Pop Punk classics. AJ of ISSUES is called in to action as he comes on stage to perform some heavier vocals during 'Don't Wait' before Neck Deep decide to slow things down slightly with 'December'.
One of the highlights without question is their take on Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn', which vocalist Ben Barlow explains was recorded for the compilation album 'Songs That Saved My Life' in aid of Mental Health and Suicide prevention. Before the penultimate track 'In Bloom' Ben goes on to say just how much of a big song this was for Neck Deep, and that they actually built the last record around this song. After the closer 'Where Do We Go When We Go' Ben has one last thing to say as he teases "I don't know when we'll be back as we have a record to make!"
Now it's time for the headliners as DON BROCO take to the stage. The lights go down and teasing snippets of 'Come Out To LA' ring round the arena, before drummer/vocalist Matt Donnelly appears before a beautifully illuminated back drop and sings the intro, Rob Damiani and co then appear and the whole arena descends into madeness. The chaos continues into second song 'Pretty', which sees guitarist Si Delaney hare about the stage like a lunatic.
The set largely bounces between songs from latest release 'Technology' and it's predecessor 'Automatic' with favourites such as 'The Blues', 'Money Power Fame', 'Porkies' & 'Superlove'. Every song is treated like a mad party of it's own, and the crowd really have their work cut out tonight as there is barely a moment to catch your breath.
One great touch by DON BROCO on this tour was the inclusion of their cowboy, as seen in many of their music videos. The cowboy appears on a small stage towards the back of the venue, and plays the intro to 'Everybody' before Broco bring it back to the main stage to bring the song to life. He appears again a few songs later during 'Priorities' to crowd surf essentially the length of the whole arena, credit to this guy, he really is just as insane as he is in the videos!
The main set is rounded off by 'You Wanna Know' and finally 'Nerve' before the three song encore is started off with recently released 'Half Man Half God', it may have only been out for a few weeks but the crowd lap it up as if it's one of the classics. Then it's time for the bonkers 'Thug Workout' where frontman Rob encourages the crowd to participate in a press up routine and then also quite literally the biggest circle pit I have ever seen, all around the cowboy, which was all recorded and the footage will be included in their upcoming video for 'Half Man Half God'.
The night is rounded off perfectly with 'T-Shirt Song' and is a real sight to behold, with a sea of t-shirts up in the air and swung around thousands of heads, it really is a lot to take in. Long term fans of the band will of known that bigger shows were always destined for this bunch, and tonight has shown us that arenas are well and truly the new home for DON BROCO.
DON BROCO - https://www.facebook.com/donbroco/
Neck Deep - https://www.facebook.com/neckdeepuk/
ISSUES - https://www.facebook.com/issues/
Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography