(Written by me and originally published on November 12, 2012 on London24.com)
Rockers Don Broco warmed up a half empty venue with their brand of poppy tunes and synchronised dance moves.
Singer Rob Damiani told the crowd that they were the biggest the band had played in front of, and he was (almost literally when he slipped) bowled over by the reaction the band received.
With their infectious songs, light-hearted attitude and Damiani’s incredibly strong voice, it won’t be long before you see them on stage at much bigger venues than the Roundhouse.
Awolnation are an outfit that defy easy description and their set showed-off the wide range of styles that mix in Aaron Bruno’s songs – from post-hardcore to electronica and much else in between.
The set was never dull and the stage antics were also memorable – getting the (by then much larger) audience to put their arms around each other, Bruno crowd surfing, and even stopping their set for a happy birthday to two band members.
Billy Talent, greeted on stage like returning heroes, eschewed antics in favour of the straightforward playing of their passionate punk rock.
The appreciative crowd sang along with every word Ben Kowalewicz rasped, from openers Lonely Road to Absolution and Viking Death March, all the way through to the encore of Fallen Leaves, Surprise Surprise, and Red Flag.
In a rare and poignant moment for a rock gig, Kowalewicz drew everyone’s attention to the fact that it was Remembrance Day and dedicated The Navy Song to “everyone’s granddad who fought in the war”.
There can’t have been many punk gigs in history at which grandparents have been given an ovation.
“I’ve been in this country more than in my own country,” Kowalewicz told the crowd after naming three festivals they had played in the summer.
And yes, a Billy Talent gig is a familiar fixture, and there weren’t any real surprises for those who had seen them before, the group showing no desire to tamper with their usual formula.
But as the appreciative reaction of the 3,000+ crowd showed – why should they change it? It’s a winning one.