with Don Broco/The Dangerous Summer/Gnarwolves
11th October 2012
Review by James Meakin
The rain crashes down onto the closed stalls of Camden market as winter draws ever closer. This can only mean one thing; the tents are packed away, the barbeques have been extinguished and gig season is well and truly upon us. A promising line up was on offer for the faithful hundreds queuing around the block to get into the last date of the tour and sold out London performance by Lower Than Atlantis. This summer has seen our headliners play countless festivals, become darlings of day time radio and become magazine cover stars. The question is: can they pull off one more show?
First up are Gnarwolves [3/5] who bound in early with the youthful exuberance of a British Blink 182. Their infectious brand of fast pop punk gets the early heads bobbing down the front. Their music reeks of the sea air of the south coast and the spirit of the current British punk scene. The band have a devil may care DIY attitude and this comes through in their performance, blitzing through songs about skateboarding packed with enough woah woahs to keep the haggard punknewsers hanging by the bar happy. The band is suitably rough round the edges but for a band like this military precision is not what it is all about.
Gnarwolves are a dynamic three piece with bassist/guitarist tag team who play very well together. They split vocal duties and keeping the venue content with comedic between tune banter. Gnarwolves impress the crowd building the atmosphere up notably, no easy feat considering the early kick off of tonight’s show. ‘History is Bunk’ is a fantastic, well rounded skate punk number and as they leave the stage Gnarwolves can pat themselves on the back, job well done.
Next to the stage are USA born lads The Dangerous Summer [1/5]; depressing and thoroughly forgettable set seems to sap much of the life from the venue. They sound like a cross between early Jimmy Eat World and Brand New without the sense of wry self deprecation one would expect from music of this nature. One gets the impression that The Dangerous summer is around ten years too late with what they are doing. The vocalist seems to have ambitions to be some form of emo Craig Finn but with less charisma.
To cut the Dangerous Summer some slack they were extremely tight, played well with each other and had very digestible onstage chemistry. A few times they had good old fashioned emotive crescendos but for the most part this was one support to many. They were far from home and on a line up of explosive new British music which would be a hard tour for anyone to really come into their own.
Judging by how many t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Sexy girls come up to me’ start swarming around the centre of the room it is obvious that one of the hottest prospects in British Rock is about to tear the venue from its foundations; Don Broco [5/5]. If you have not yet picked up Don Broco’s stunning debut ‘Priorities’ you would be forgiven in thinking it had been out for much longer than it has.
The audience screams every word of their new songs right back to Rob Damiani who was throwing all the recognisable Broco signature moves back to the crowd. The highlight of the set is the gentle hint of the band playing through (now, compared to the new material, a classic) the intro to break through single ‘Beautiful Morning’ while Rob states “we are only going to play one old song tonight…” only to have the band cut into cult favourite Thug Workout.
The heavy as funk riff sends the pit spiralling out of control. Simon Delaney’s handle on the demanding rifferey of the new record live is mindboggling; he manages to maintain pinpoint accuracy while simultaneously popping out fantastic vocal hooks and bounding around onstage like an excited spaniel.
The title track from the record has the audience in fine voice, new single Hold On changes introduces a welcome change of pace while the closer Actors has drummer and vocalist Matt Donnelly firing snare shots and rising vocals perfectly.
This band completely nail it, a responsive wall of death keeps everyone happy, bruised and together. Don Broco know how to do it live and if you have never heard of them, don’t worry, you will soon.
Lower Than Atlantis [4/5] needs no introduction, the audience is ready for what is about to happen with the circle in the centre of the room gaping and the crowd ready for Duce and crew to take the stage.
Lower Than Atlantis brings a fantastic show, something most bands following Don Broco would struggle to do. Old songs like Far Q and Beech Like The Tree crack through the venue like thunder and inspire pandemonium on the dance floor while the new (marginally more) radio friendly PMA screams confidence, this is then mimicked by the thousand smiling faces packing the venue.
Mike Duce seems to be a somewhat reluctant Rock star claiming that he hates when rock stars thank crowds with condescending tones but from how he delivered his between song banter (which could do with some work) he was genuinely gracious so many people came out to see his band.
They are still not quite fully developed as a band, the positivity of the new record juxtaposed by the darkness of the previous two is interesting to witness live but one gets the feeling that despite the quality of the gig they still have lots more to give. This is a show that they will not soon forget. Stand out closing numbers Another Sad Song and Deadliest Catch give the crowd one last chance to dance before they stumble from the venue and head home.