Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
First up at the O2 Academy tonight are Yonaka, who set the bar high for the evening ahead. Their set is simply flawless, with the Brighton based four piece delivering an eclectic mix of fiery vocals and hip-hop beats.
Singer, Theresa Jarvis, weaves her way across the stage in sky high platform black heels, as she belts out tracks from their Heavy EP – including ‘Gods and Lovers’ and ‘Run’. However it was their new track, ‘Fucking with the Boss’, that I find myself humming on the way home. Yonaka’s music is the perfect mix of heavy riffs, thunderous drums and tough vocals that will worm its way into your brain for weeks to come.
Next in support tonight is Man with a Mission, who stroll onto stage donning matching wolf masks before launching into their track ‘Emotions’. Lead singer, Tokyo Tanaka, flings himself back and forth across the O2 Academy to upbeat tracks such as ‘DANCE EVERYBODY’ and ‘Dead End in Tokyo’, before a very risky but ultimately successful cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Brave boys. Or wolves. Or space cadets, or whatever is actually under there.
Then it’s time for the ‘big show’…. The last time I saw Don Broco was across town at the O2 Institute 2, where the room physically shook from fans bouncing around in time to a pretty full on performance from the Bedford four piece. Magnify that feeling by ten, and that’s what tonight is like. Don Broco confidently steal the already quite valuable evening with an energetic, euphoric performance – one that quite simply blows most other live shows I’ve recently witnessed clean out of the water.
Debuting the tracks off their latest album, Technology, it’s clear Don Broco’s most recent release had gone down a treat with fans. Grimy tracks such as ‘Pretty’ and ‘Porkies’ result in the center of the O2 Academy’s main room morphing into a surging mass of bodies, as fans are catapulted into the arms of security. But it wasn’t just a walk through the Technology track list, as the band treat the fervent fans at their feet to a varied setlist that includes songs from as far back as ‘Priorities’ to the crowd favourite ‘Thug Workout’ – the latter of which results in me being dragged into the mosh pit. Fighting my way through a throng of sweaty bodies back to safety, I decide to brave the rest of the set from the sanctity of the balcony.
But watching from above, it is clear to see why exactly Don Broco have managed to climb their ladder to success. Outside of an absurdly strong back and current catalogue (Technology‘s a good ‘un) their crowd interaction is top notch, with singer Rob Damiani checking in regularly to ensure everyone is surviving in the thriving circle pits forming across the room. At Birmingham Review we are asked to look for a counterpoint, to pick out the pros and cons of the evening and give a balanced report from every gig we cover. But sometimes it’s just not possible. Try as I might, I can’t pick a single fault in Don Broco’s performance tonight.
So suck it objectivity, you’re getting moshed aside for a bit of performance perfection. It’s got to happen sometime. And having seen Don Broco for the first time back in 2015, playing at the Cardiff Student Union as part of their Automatic tour, it’s heartwarming to watch a band go from such strength to strength.
Don Broco @ O2 Academy 15.02.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Don Broco, visit www.donbroco.com
Man with a Mission – supporting Don Broco @ O2 Academy 15.02.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Man with a Mission, visit www.mwamjapan.info
Yonaka – supporting Don Broco @ O2 Academy 15.02.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Yonaka, visit www.weareyonaka.com
For from Kilimanjaro Live, visit www.kilimanjarolive.co.uk
For more from the O2 Academy (Birmingham), including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham