Live Review: Don Broco – Corn Exchange, Cambridge 08.12.2023

Fearghal McGlinchey

By Fearghal McGlinchey

On the 8th of December, the Cambridge Corn Exchange welcomed the electric energy of Don Broco’s “The Birthday Party” tour. I’ve personally seen Don Broco twice before – first at Alexandra Palace in London back in March & then at Leeds Festival at the end of August, both times the crowd were amazing. It was noticeable that the band have built up a cult following over the years so I was expecting the same from their Cambridge show!

The night kicked off with energetic support from Ocean Grove, an Australian band, and Trash Boat, who are from St. Albans, not too far from Don Broco’s hometown of Bedford.

As the clock struck 9:35, Don Broco stormed onto the stage, launching into ‘Gumshield’. However, it was evident from the onset that frontman Rob Damiani’s usual boundless energy was subdued. At the end of the first song, he addressed this by letting the fans know he’d injured his neck during their Brighton show just days prior, also sharing his physio’s advice against performing. Yet, refusing to let down the fans, he soldiered on.

However, as expected, the real stars of the night were the fans themselves. Their relentless energy compensated for Damiani’s limitations, maintaining the concert’s trademark spark throughout.

The setlist was a nostalgic blend of classics and rarely performed older tracks. ‘Fancy Dress’ from their debut album ‘Priorities’ (2012) drew a passionate response from the crowd, affirming my belief in their cult-like following.

Hits like ‘Endorphins’ and ‘Everybody’ incited a frenzy of crowd surfers, amplifying the concert’s adrenaline to its peak.

Closing the night with ‘T-Shirt Song’, the venue became a sea of waving shirts – a traditional end to a Don Broco show.

I chose to photograph and review the Cambridge gig as I’m busy over their London dates next week – but I have friends going to see them there at KOKO. I’ve already told them to limber up before hand, because a Damiani with limited neck mobility doesn’t diminish the epic experience that is a Don Broco gig.

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