Don Broco *****
Bad Rabbits *****
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, 7th December 2013
Sadly, due to the ridiculously enormous queue of pre-pubescent Smirnoff Ice swilling yoofs halfway down Camden High Road, a fully booked Nando's and the draw of some delicious Cantonese scoff, I didn't arrive in time for the first support tonight, so apologies to Lonely The Brave.
Anyway, into the cavernous magnificent space that is the Roundhouse. The early turn out is astonishing with the massive floorspace pretty much filled to capacity for the supports. It's great for music when people can actually be arsed to show up for the other bands on the bill and certainly adds to the carnival atmosphere that's already dripping from the cast-iron architecture.
A funk/fusion/R&B groove with John Mayeresque guitar work strikes up and the packed crowd shuffle soulfully in anticipation. Then the wizard arrives. Frontman Fredua Boakye resplendent in 70s Hot Chocolate goggles, a fuck off goldie looking chain that looks like it came of the drive shaft of a pimped up gilt Escalade and a black sack cloth smock launches into a note perfect, spine tingling incantation and we're off.
There's sass, soul, funk and jazzy beauty in da Roundhouse and the youthful pop rocking, Hype-wearing masses are spellbound. The warm and unquestioning acceptance is as heart warming as it is odd: 2013, old school soul-infused jazz funk at a so-called 'relevant' alt pop rock show? Why? How?
But it works a treat. The musicianship is so spot on, and mixed up, there are moments of Return To Forever, Gil Scott Heron, Al Green and even Guru (mercifully without resorting to tiresome and hackneyed rap). A true fusion and experimental leap of faith that pays off in toe tapping, goose-necking, mirth-making style.
Boakye is loving it throughout, leaping about, crowd surfing, shimmying and leading the rest of the band in syrupy smooth synchronised moves that ooze more cool than an industrial meat fridge. In an ice hotel. In Siberia. On the coldest day since records began. And that's cool.
The singles are given airings with the ridiculously catchy We Can Roll and the sarcastic saccarine-soused schmaltzy Fall In Love forming huge sing-a-long highlights. And Boakye is the perfect ringmaster throughout; cajoling, enthusing and seducing the Lynx-scented scene kid crowd to join in, sway, clap, jump and even shout 'butt cheeks'.
A wonderful, razor sharp and über cool fluffer before the main Broco sex fest.
Don Broco *****
By now, the scent of Lynx and WKD Blue has been replaced by a cloying stench of teenage anticipation as the house lights dim and on march their Home Counties heros to a bleepy, wobby, synthy fingering before the huge single You Wanna Know fully penetrates and plunges deeply into the supplicant and moistened hormone-soaked soft squishy bits. Every word is sung and shrieked back by the pre-orgasmic writhing throng. And they love it. They fucking love it.
And the rogering continues apace. Banger after banger culled from the remarkable 2012 tour de force Priorities and the excellent Big Fat Smile ep/mini album are woven into a cleverly constructed and seductive set smoothly moving between soft and slow thrusts to hanging-from-the-chandelier-reverse-cowgirl battery; with a run up.
Of course, there's the obligatory push ups in the middle of the pre-Big Fat Smile metallic minge-tinged mosh Thug Workout (in which Bad Rabbits' frontman Dua gets involved wearing an Arsenal shirt), pantomime-esque sing-a-longs in the infectious as the pox anthem Yeah Man and the walk in the last of the triple encore, the mighty Priorities, but the lads have kept things spicy and fresh.
There's no predictable missionary Sunday morning shag here, cracking oldies like I'm Good and Top Of The World are mixed up with the brooding magnificence of You Got It Girl and power rock pop party starter Fancy Dress to keep things fresh and to inject a variety of positions, pace and techniques.
The lads from McBusted are in the crowd tonight and hopefully are cribbing notes from the Broco Sutra. This is high-end sexual gymnastics and perfected, sustained, showy-offy performance and by the time Priorities finishes in a great big gooey, sweaty, gushy orgasmic love puddle there are 4,000 or so very tender, raw, satiated and right royally fucked happy punters all in need of cigarettes and a damn good snooze. Just not in the wet bit.
Don Broco have experienced a heady and almost meteoric rise over the last 18 months or so; and hugely deservedly so. Their loveable blend of poppy hooks, rocky backbone and balls and no small amount of enormously clever phrasing, relevant and sardonic lyricism (when they're not yelling about poonani) sets them apart from, well, just about everyone else. They may come over as clean-cut, cheeky chappies, but they're a clever, brutal, hung like an industrial vacuum pump rogering machine. And tonight I'm privileged to have been one of the massively satisfied fuckees.
Brilliant stuff. Need a lie down. Just for a bit. Ow.
Oh, if you're interested (but let's be honest, why would you really be?), here's my take on th etop albums and Eps of 2013. And those Broco boys are certainly in the EP mix! Have a look here>