Don Broco, Papa Roach and Dance Gavin Dance at Birmingham Utilita Arena

Just under a year ago, Don Broco announced a huge four-date UK arena tour alongside Dance Gavin Dance and the legendary Papa Roach. We were in attendance at the penultimate show at the Utilita Arena Birmingham to see how the Bedford band fared.

Post-Hardcore Californians Dance Gavin Dance opened the show, fronted by both Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson, the latter of which likely familiar to Don Broco’s die-hards, after featuring on their 2019 single Action. The openers delivered a range of high-tempo tracks, opening with arguably their most well-known song Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise, and closing with Inspire the Liars, both of which from 2016’s Mothership. Their set was a short, but compelling introduction for the uninitiated.

For the next act the uninitiated were clearly few; if the number of Papa Roach t-shirts in the audience was any indication. The band kicked in with recent track Kill the Noise, with frontman Jacoby Shaddix immediately taking command of the arena. A highlight of the set included a cover of The Prodigy’s Firestarter, with Birmingham-born Prodigy live guitarist Rob Holliday joining Papa Roach on stage. Of course, the veterans couldn’t leave without playing their genre-defining smash-hit Last Resort, much to the delight of the audience, who echoed the famous “Cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort” back to Shaddix.

Next up, the main act; Don Broco. Entering the stage with a theatrical, Close Encounters of the Third Kind inspired light show synchronised with the opening notes to Bruce Willis, from 2021’s Amazing Things. As the intro built, frontman Rob Damiani lit a flare, illuminating the carnage about to occur in the mosh pits.

Don Broco continued with a streak of heavy-hitters, including Gumshield, Technology, Uber and Come Out To LA, all of which were received incredibly well by the thousands-strong crowd. Damiani also took the time to share his love for Birmingham, stating it was one of the first cities to show love for the band outside of their hometown, and is coincidentally the hometown of his ‘Nonna’, who happened to be in the audience, rocking out at 93 years of age.

The set included a healthy balance of the band’s discography, with an emphasis on their most recent album Amazing Things, with two thirds of the tracklist played. Highlights included Pretty, Automatic, Everybody and Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan, which saw special guests Jacoby Shaddix and David Beckham (actually lookalike Mark Woodward) join the band on stage.

Towards the end of the set, Don Broco dedicated their song Nerve to fan Luke Barnes, who sadly passed away just a couple of weeks prior to the gig. This was a heartfelt and emotional tribute to Luke, whose wife Isobel was in the crowd, and heralded a sombre shift in the arena’s atmosphere.

Don Broco ended the night with the stomping T-Shirt Song, a track written perfectly as a show closer, with lyrics; “they’re saying there’s one song left, no time for no regrets, I take my T-shirt off, swing it around my head” taken literally by the majority of the crowd. Overall, Don Broco again prove themselves as an act capable of incredibly compelling arena shows, complete with thunderous riffs, an impressive lighting rig, and most importantly, guitarist Simon Delaney’s signature high kicks.

Photos and Words by Jacob Swetmore


Philip Goddard

Back to top