Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 16/11/2012 | Don Broco, AWOLNATION, Billy Talent – Portsmouth Pyramid Centre

16/11/2012 | Don Broco, AWOLNATION, Billy Talent – Portsmouth Pyramid Centre

Elise Price


I’ve come to expect nothing less than a great live show that gets the crowd going wild every time I see Don Broco. Tonight, as they open up for AWOLNATION and Billy Talent, they don’t disappoint. The level of crowd participation is always huge at their shows, and even though they are first up tonight, Don Broco still get every one moving. The audience are asked to spread out mid-set, seeing numbers of people spread right around the edges of the venue, when singer Rob Damiani invites everyone to “drop and give me twenty” in a group push-up exercise. It’s quite the sight seeing a group of people on the floor doing press ups in the middle of a rock show but somehow at a Don Broco set, it just makes perfect sense.

Now almost a Don Broco trade mark, the crowd also spreads right out before diving back into the middle of the floor on command, kicking off a surge of movement and general rocking out. When their set ends with the single Hold True the crowd are pretty well warmed up, both spectators around the edge of the venue, and the sweatier ones that have been going nuts in the middle.

After a more than lively start, AWOLNATION are next to take to the stage. Their alternative rock style is fuelled with a synth-based edge that provides a twist of dance music amongst the guitars. They play brilliantly, give a great vocal performance and have a great stage presence. After tonight’s performance I would go out and by their album tomorrow, however, it seems a bit unfortunate that they are sandwiched between two bands that leave such a lasting impression tonight. Although they are perhaps the least impressionable act of the night, this by no means reflects on how good they sounded or how well they performed, and I’m sure they’ve left their fans very happy tonight as well as gaining some new ones.

After two great opening acts, the crowd are incredibly excited to see headliners Billy Talent, and when the lights finally go down the atmosphere is electric. Walking out on stage with the lights low, they begin their set with the opening track from their last album Lonely Road to Absolution. This is a staggering start to the set; a slow and steady track that makes a captivating introduction that is full of suspense, accumulating in the punk guitar riffs of the next song Viking Death March. There is no other way to describe the response to this beginning other than by saying that the crowd go absolutely mental.

Both band and fans keep up this level of energy all night long. Singer Benjamin Kowalewicz is often dancing around his mic stand, up on the speakers and jumping all over the stage. During the set the banter flows effortlessly. Ben compares the Pyramid centre in Portsmouth to something from the Da Vinci Code, chats with an young member of the crowd and rewards him for being the ‘bravest eleven-year-old he has ever seen’ by declaring their merch guy will give him a free t-shirt, and even cracks a joke involving Michael Jackson and Lego.

As if their brilliant performance wasn’t enough, this guy has all the banter down to a tee as well. Their set is a great mix of old and new material, flowing out in a constant wall of sound that commands a constant surge of movement from the audience. After playing Devil on My Shoulder they leave the stage to a raucous amount of shouts and applause, to return and play an encore that ensures they really go out with a bang. Fallen Leaves kicks everything back off again, followed by Surprise Surprise and Red Flag. The band absolutely belts these tracks out with an incredible amount of left over energy, and everyone leaves a very sweaty, happy and contented gig-goer.




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Photos © Elise Price and must not be reproduced without prior consent