Saturday, 14 July 2012

Living Bromance - Futures and Don Broco live XOYO review

Don Broco*****

XOYO Shoreditch July 10th

Fixed gear bikes, stupidly mannered short drainpipe trousers, dad’s old shoes, feature facial hair, boot sale ‘vintage’ specs and tote bags. Can only be Shoreditch. 

And tonight the sodden streets of London’s über cool diocese are broken up by a massive queue of scene kids, industry types, hipsters, boozers, losers and Jacuzzi users as door opening time approaches at the achingly cool XOYO.

Judging by the number of folk who’ve braved the rain to get here early, it’s going to be a popular night in the company of three of the UK’s finest exponents of smart and dangerously catchy poppy rocky noisy nonsense.

Always been suspicious of The New Forest
First up are the present darlings of the New Forest, Natives***** Now I’m not sure whether it’s Shoreditch camouflage, trying to get a headstart for Movember or that the new forest is caught in an Isle of Wight/mid Wales timewarp, but I’m fairly sure their lead singer is sporting what’s pretending to be a moustache. Along with Damon Tang of noisy bastards Acoda’s early Sam Allardyce growth I feel two are probably well enough on the scene. No more chaps. Please. 

Anyway, I digress (plus ça change!). Are they any good? (facial hair notwithstanding). Well, yes. Loud poppy but not frothy tunes with great vox, fist waving melodies and big-arsed choruses are served up on a bed of technically shifting riffage. All good.

The only mild concern is the recent boom in bands of this ilk are making it so hard to generate any original space or sustain any measurable distance or difference. So bands like Tellison, Jumping Ships, Drawings, Mallory Knox and Canterbury are all fighting for share of what’s becoming a crowded marketplace. Don’t get me wrong all of the aforementioned have enough signature originality to be sufficiently different from each other and the music they’re producing is generally of the top order. There’s just a lot of it about.

No matter, the already packed crowd guzzle down the fare like thirsty students on a free WKD promo night. Smiles, sweat and sing-a-longs. Marvellous.

Don Broco*****
There’s just so much noise around the bouncing Bedford badasses at the moment (all totally well earned I might add!) that the general feeling is a huge proportion of the assembled throng are here for Bobby and the boys as much as (and in truth if not more) than for Futures themselves.

And not surprisingly. After kicking off with the mighty Priorities (complete with the walk), there’s not a sweaty pierced neck left without tingles or a tattooed arm without goosebumps in the house. And that’s just the first tune!

Monsieur Damiani is such a showman and commands the stage from the off. Cajoling the fizzy-knickered masses to get involved. Either physically or dutifully bleating back refrains.

Puppies, sunsets, and pretty rainbows..oh, and Gwaaarrrr
Older Broco favourites like the more infectious than a Thai masseur’s front bottom Beautiful Morning and the set ending rifftacular Dreamboy are merged perfectly with newer offerings to produce a set and a performance as near to perfection as any I’ve seen for many a year (albeit a regrettably short support slot). And to cap it all, the genius of Thug Workout was even given a riotous airing accompanied by walls of death and the now compulsory push up boys.

If Natives were as smooth and punchy as a peach daiquiri, we were now moving towards the finest and most potent of delicious cocktails. This is brilliantly constructed, melodic, complex, witty and multi-layered stuff. Impossible to truly catergorise lurching wildly from moments of pure pop bliss to spleen splitting riffs and drops. Totally original lyrical phrasing. Sardonic swipes at showbiz types. Modern urban hymns about bros before hos. And, while not taking themselves too seriously or shoegazingly, this martini is shaken up and served with incredible musicianship and skill. So bloody clever. So bloody catchy. So bloody good.

I know the boys are out on the road supporting the magical LTA in the autumn, but surely that will be among their last support performances. If the utterly brilliant and blitzy Actors and equally magnificent Fancy Dress are portents of what’s to come on the forthcoming Priorities album, this mesmerising, tight-as-a-Great-White’s-bumhole at 20,000ft bunch of likeable and captivating rogues will steal so many more hearts on their inevitable rise to masivedom. Girls want to shag ‘em. Blokes want to be them. A perfect, intoxicating and heady mix. Hic.

Now this is going to be difficult. Futures are a great band. Fact. They produce shiny indie-fused pop rock out of the top drawer. Great melodies. Spine tingling harmonies. And all buffed and shiny. But how on God’s earth can I be objective after the Don Broco tour de force? Well, in short, I can’t be. So I’m not going to be mean. I’ve seen this lot on several occasions and they never disappoint. 

But, if Don Broco are a pimped up, convertible, supercharged, snarling sexy sportscar rammed to the roll bar with babes in bikinis, sub machine guns and sacks of drugs careering along the Corniche or Sunset Strip, then Futures are a Bentley Mulsanne. On a country lane. With a hamper in the back. There’s certainly power under the bonnet and moments of aggression. But, they fail to fully excite. Well, in fairness, the majority of the delirious crowd wouldn’t necessarily agree as they sing along with just about every word. But I found them, well, er too nice. Jolly good. But just a bit too jolly nice.

Righty ho, The amazing Burnout Festival coming soon.

So many brilliant bands in one sweaty venue. Going to be awesome.

In the meantime, here's an assortment of video delights loosely connected with the ramblings above.

More tunes soon. Bwoooar!

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